A new video has emerged on social media showing what is believed to be another view of the Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) attack on Project 18280 Yuri Ivanov class intelligence vessel Ivan Khurs in the Black Sea on Wednesday about 90 miles northeast of Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait.
This video – along with one posted yesterday showing a view of the USV approaching the Ivan Khurs – indicates a possible impact on the ship contrary to official Russian claims that it would be unharmed. However, several videos and images have also emerged on social media claiming to show the ship sailing through its home port of Sevastopol today with no apparent signs of damage.
“Under the conditions of (the special military operation), our telegram channel…never publishes new photos of the ships of the Black Sea Fleet. But in light of the hysteria, let’s make an exception,” said the Black Sea Fleet Telegram channel in a post that included several photos he claimed were of the ship entering Sevastopol. “The Medium Recon Ship”Ivan Khurs‘ returns to Sevastopol…”
The new grainy video of the USV attack, provided today by ‘military sources’ to the Ukrainian Pravda media, is a view of the starboard side of the Ivan Khurs and appears to show the results of an explosion on the port side. This explosion is followed seconds later by another apparent explosion which appears to be a short distance from the vessel.
The location of this second apparent explosion could be a sight of what the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday was one of three attack USVs destroyed by the Ivan Khurs’ 14.5 mm machine guns mounted on deck.
If this video is real, it seems to lend partial credence to some of the information provided by both sides in this conflict.
The vessel appears to have been hit, or at least an explosion occurred very close to it, confirming Ukraine’s claim, while at least one of the attacking USVs appears to have been destroyed without coming very close close to the ship’s hull, as claimed by Russia.
Other than a sarcastic tweet posted yesterday by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense showing the supposed sight of the USV attacking the Ivan Khurs published by Ukrainian sources, Kyiv officially said nothing about this incident.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) noted on Friday the return of the ship to Sevastopol under its own power.
“The Black Sea Fleet reconnaissance vessel Ivan Khurs has completed its planned transition from its area of operations to the permanent deployment base in Sevastopol,” the Russian Defense Ministry reported on its Telegram channel on Friday.
“In the Black Sea since the end of April 2023, the crew carried out tasks to ensure the safety of the operation of the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Turkey and also monitored the situation on the surface in the southwestern part of the Black Sea to ensure the safety of navigation within the framework of the “grain agreement”.
Despite the video showing what could have been an impact on or near the ship, the Ministry of Defense made no mention of damage and stuck to its previous story of the destruction of three Ukrainian UGVs with the 14.5 mm machine guns from the ship.
“The ship will replenish its supplies at its home base, after which it will continue its missions,” according to the MoD.
While the official Russian CASS The Russian news agency essentially repeated verbatim the statement from the Russian Defense Ministry without mentioning the issue of damage to the ship, other Russian media were keen to counter any suggestion that the ship had suffered problems as a result of This meeting.
“Skeptics and dreamers about the death of the reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurswhich was recently attacked by enemy naval drones, will have to accept again today that the ship is safe and sound,” said the Russian. Readovka media reported on its Telegram channel. “First they demanded to show them a new photo and video of the ship, then near the starboard side, then the left side. The pictures show that the starboard side of the Khurs is in good condition, like the rest of the ship, which smoothly entered its home port of Sevastopol with no fatal or minor damage.
However, even pro-Russian Telegram channels like the one run by Igor Girkin have raised doubts about the status of the Ivan Khurs. Girkin, a former military leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, also known as Igor Strelkov, is one of Russia’s most influential and controversial milbloggers.
“Subscribers dropped it in the chat – apparently the Khurs is towed, there is reason to believe that it is in Novorossiysk, although it may also be in Sevastopol,” Girkin wrote on his Telegram channel earlier on Friday.
“I wonder what Konashenkov will say now?” Girkin wrote, referring to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov. “How come such an expensive and valuable ship only has machine guns on its pedestals for self-defense? The answer to this question, like any other, looks like this: the navy command does not is unable to understand that the fleet is destined for war.
There were even more outlandish claims, including that there were five USVs involved, not three, and that several Russian sailors were killed in the incident. These claims, however, are totally unverified.
And for some reason there seems to be continued interest in the general area where the attack is believed to have taken place by the US Air Force, using an RQ-4B Global Hawk drone, callsign FORTE10, over southern the Black Sea in an unusual vertical running track. models for two days in a row.
We have contacted US Air Force Europe and will update this story with any information provided.
So much about this incident remains unclear. But one thing Ukraine and Russia agree on is that the Ivan Khurs comes under attack from the USV.
It wouldn’t be out of the question that Russia could have staged this to trigger international outrage against Ukraine for attacking its ship inside Turkey’s exclusive economic zone and that Ukraine took the opportunity to show that she can strike far into the Black Sea.
But if it was a Ukrainian attack, even if the ship suffered no significant damage or damage, the fact that it could be hit by a USV so far from the most Ukrainian-controlled shore close – about 200 miles – would indicate a significant expansion of the capabilities of Ukrainian USV operations. They could also have been launched from a mothership.
As we wrote earlier, Ukraine has made efforts to expand its USV fleet, including through a crowdfunding campaign led by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s UNITED24 organization.
But, as we also wrote previously, previous USV attacks, especially on the port of Sevastopol, headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in October and November 2022 and March 2023, caused limited damage. However, they have forced Russia to tighten its port security and change the way it deploys its ships.
This attack, in the southern part of the Black Sea, seems to indicate that no place is safe for Russian ships passing through these waters.
We will continue to update this story as new information develops.
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