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    Ukraine Reports Sinking Another Warship, Russia has disabled one-third of its Black Sea Fleet

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    Ukraine claims to have disabled a third of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet after its military intelligence reported sinking another Russian warship in a sea drone attack near Crimea on Wednesday. Russia’s landing ship Caesar Kunikov was targeted with “MAGURA” V5 drones, causing “critical holes” on its left side and resulting in its sinking, according to the Ukrainian military intelligence agency on Telegram.

    “Ukraine has disabled a third of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during the large-scale invasion,” the country’s armed forces told CNN after Wednesday’s attack.

    The attack, executed by the “Group 13” special forces unit in conjunction with Ukraine’s security and defense forces, was documented with night-time footage illustrating a sea drone charging towards the Caesar Kunikov and concluding with a massive smoke plume emanating from the ship. Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence claimed the ship was at berth for ten days at a specialized location suited for loading weapons and military equipment, and appeared loaded at the time of the assault.

    “This has to do with the course of the special military operation, so it is the prerogative of the Ministry of Defense. I suggest you refer to the statements of our military colleagues. I can’t say anything about this,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a news briefing. In an attempt to assert strategic and symbolic dominance, these attacks are focused on the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Russian forces in 2014, and are designed to isolate the region and impede Russia’s military operations on the Ukrainian mainland.

    When asked about the incident in a Brussels press conference on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said broadly that “the Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” and that this is a “great achievement, a great victory for Ukrainians.”

    The NATO chief also noted that the fact that Ukraine’s armed forces have pushed away the Russian Black Sea fleet and opened a corridor has allowed them to export grain and other commodities to the world market.

    “Few believe this was possible just a few months ago. But now actually, the export of grain from Ukraine takes place even without an agreement with Russia. So this shows the skills and the competence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO’s support had been important.

    The utilization of sea drones has proven to be a game-changer in Ukraine’s naval warfare strategy. As a pilot from Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency explained, “MAGURA” drones are compact, jet ski-powered devices, armed with at least 250kg (500lb) of explosives, and boast an impressive operational range of nearly 800 kilometers (almost 500 miles). This technology allows Ukraine to deploy drones from extensive stretches of its coastline to strike targets in Crimea.

    These unmanned systems are prized for their stealth and agility, making them a challenge for Russia’s navy to detect and intercept. “No warship can be as maneuverable as these drones,” said one of Ukraine’s drone pilots, emphasizing the tactical advantage gained by the Ukrainian forces.

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