The Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine continues deteriorate as Russia receives damage to another important ship in recent days. Forbes reports that the Ukrainian government released videos showing a drone attack on the Russian navy frigate Admiral Makarov, the current flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. The previous flagship, the Moskva, was sunk on April 14 after possibly being hit by Neptune missiles, according to Politico.
Before the Admiral Makarov was identified, other possible ships that may have been hit in the released footage included the Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich. All three are Grigorovich-class frigates, which are built in a similar style. However, an independent source quoted in The Guardian indicates that the damaged ship has been properly identified as the Makarov. There is currently no conclusive evidence as to what happened to the ship. More information will be released as this story develops.
This is not the first time Ukraine has leveraged drones for long-range warfare. The Guardian reports that Ukrainian drones have previously hit targets like the Saky aerodrome, Sevastopol naval headquarters, and most recently, the Kerch Bridge—the only connection between Crimea and mainland Russia. While the Ukrainian government has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kerch bridge, it is a huge blow for pro-Russian forces, as destroying parts of this bridge severely limits Russia’s ability to reinforce Crimea with supplies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly stressed that as part of this war he intends to recover all territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia, The Guardian continues. This includes the four regions annexed on September 30 and the Crimean Peninsula, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014. The war has recently swung in Ukraine’s favor after a sustained counteroffensive in September, but this progress has slowed over the course of October.
Following the attack on the Makarov, Russia’s defense ministry claimed to have recovered the wreckage of the drones used in the attack and that they had identified Canadian technology within the drones, according to Reuters. Drones have become particularly important in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war, with Ukraine using Turkish-made Bayraktar drones, and Russia using Iranian-made Shahed drones. Russia has been quick to speculate that the drone attack on the Makarov was funded by the West, using Western drones and intelligence. The United Kingdom has come under the most scrutiny from Russia for the attack.
The attack led to Russia briefly pulling out of a deal—that was critical for the Europe and Africa—to continue shipping Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, Deutsche Welle reports, although the Russian government has since rejoined it. The deal allows for Ukraine to ship grains, one of the country’s primary exports, through the Russian-controlled Black Sea to countries that have been starving due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, particularly those on the Horn of Africa, as The New York Times reports. Grain is already moving through the Bosphorus, as The New York Times continues that 15 full shipments have left Ukraine since October 30 with more on the way. These shipments and the drone attacks show that there is no sign that the Russo-Ukrainian War will end soon, and that fighting will be protracted for the coming months.
Image courtesy of Vadim Ghirda, Flickr