Russian ships are being taken out by mines covertly laid by Ukrainian sea drones: report

A Sea Baby drone.
A Sea Baby drone.Screengrab via UNITED24/Ukrainian government
  • Ukrainian sea drones are laying mines to damage Russian ships in the Black Sea, the WSJ reported.

  • Four ships, including missile corvette Samum and patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin, have been hit.

  • Laying mines by naval drone is part of Ukraine's unconventional warfare program.

Ukrainian uncrewed surface vessels are laying undersea mines that have already damaged several Russian warships in the Black Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Brig Gen Ivan Lukashevych, of Ukraine's SBU security service, described to the Journal the development of a specialized Sea Baby drone capable of laying Western-supplied bottom mines — small, 400-pound mines that sit under the sea bed.

According to Lukashevych, once in place the mines can detect a ship's sounds and electromagnetic signals and explode when one is nearby.

The paper reported that the mines have damaged four Russian warships to date, including the missile corvette Samum and the patrol ship Pavel Derzhavin.

While successful attacks on Russian ships using sea drones packed with explosives have been well documented, the use of drones to lay mines has not received the same attention.

But after Russia boosted its defenses at the Crimean port of Sevastopol, making explosive naval drone attacks much more difficult, mines came into play, the Journal reported.

After carefully mapping routes used by both civilian and military vessels last summer, Lukashevych's team sent drones out to lay mines, according to the outlet.

The Samum triggered one of the mines in September, the paper reported. At the time, intelligence sources briefed Reuters and Ukrainan media that it had been struck by a Sea Baby drone.

A month later, the Pavel Derzhavin was damaged by an explosion, attributed to a Sea Baby by unnamed SBU sources.

Two days later, the vessel headed out of Sevastopol for repairs — only to be struck again, this time by one of Lukashevych's mines, the Journal reported.

The tugboat that was sent to rescue it also hit a mine, according to the outlet.

Lukashevych also told the Journal that Ukraine's naval drone operators are now being trained to work in small squads of 10-20 drones, which collectively could replicate the role of a warship.

Despite having no conventional navy, Ukraine continues to punch above its weight in the Black Sea.

Ukraine claims to have damaged or destroyed at least a third of Russia's Black Sea Fleet since the start of the full-scale invasion, a feat that has seen Russia relocate much of its naval operations from its headquarters at Sevastopol to Novorossiysk.

Read the original article on Business Insider