Ukrainian naval drone threat likely continues to restrict the operations of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the United Kingdom Defense Ministry assessed on Monday morning.
The UK Defense Ministry made this assessment despite the failure of a March 22 attack by three uncrewed surface vessels (USV) and an aerial drone on the Russian naval base in Sevastopol.
Russian governor Mikhail Razvozhayev had reported that the attack had resulted in no damage to the fleet after Russian sailors had shot at the USVs with small arms fire and air defenses targeted the aerial drone. The UK said on Monday that open source reports suggested that two naval drones were destroyed in the harbor, while a defensive boom stopped the third.
Previous drone attack
The UK noted a previous naval drone attack on the Crimean port on October 29 that "reportedly damaged the minesweeper Ivan Golubets and the frigate Admiral Makarov." Admiral Makarov replaced the Moskva as the Black Sea Fleet flagship after the sinking of the Moskva in a Ukrainian anti-ship missile attack on April 13.
"This is the first case in history where the attack was carried out exclusively by unmanned vessels," said Ukrainian government charity United24.
The Ukrainian government said that it is seeking to create a naval fleet of drones. Ukraine had lost most of its navy in the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, in which the ships were blocked in the harbor.
United24, which is raising funds for the naval drone fleet, has written that the drones are needed to secure the shipping lanes for grain and to stop maritime missile attacks.