Kyiv has said that a helicopter was destroyed during a drone attack on a Russian patrol ship near Crimea.

Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR) said on Tuesday that it had used seaborne drones to attack the $65-million vessel Sergei Kotov, whose stern, starboard and port sides were reportedly damaged.

Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told local television that Kyiv had also successfully destroyed a shipboard Kamov Ka-29 helicopter in the strike, close to the Kerch Strait.

Patrol ships are equipped with a helicopter pad, hangar and fuel storage facilities for deck aircraft. The vessel’s crew practiced helicopter deck landings for the first time in 202, Ukrainska Pravda reported.

GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told journalists that there were “dead and wounded” among the crew but some of those onboard had managed to evacuate themselves. Russian forces were also planning to place an anti-aircraft missile system on the vessel, he added.

 Kamov KA-27 helicopter
This illustrative image from July 24, 2023 shows a Kamov KA-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter at Patriot Park, in Moscow. Ukraine has said that a Ka-29 was destroyed in a strike on the vessel Sergei Kotov,…


The GUR released what it said was an intercepted conversation of the Russian commander of the 184th Water District Protection Brigade in Novorossiysk detailing the destruction of the vessel, which is described as a “tragic nighttime incident” involving “five unmanned boats.”

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry, which has not commented on Ukraine’s claims. Kremlin-installed authorities in Crimea announced traffic along the Crimean Bridge, spanning the Kerch Strait, had been “temporarily suspended” without explaining why.

Reports on the Telegram messaging app just after midnight Monday described explosions and gunfire in the area and a video posted by the GUR purports to show drone footage of the strike in which a seaborne drone approaches the side of a ship, followed by a large explosion, causing fire and smoke to billow into the sky.

The GUR said it used Ukrainian-designed Magura V5 naval drones in the attack in coordination with the Ukrainian military and Kyiv’s digital transformation ministry.

During the war started by Vladimir Putin, Kyiv has conducted a series of headline-grabbing attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and infrastructure around the occupied peninsula using naval drones.

These include strikes on the Russian Kilo-class submarine, the Rostov-on-Don. The Russian Ropucha-class landing ship Caesar Kunikov was sunk by Ukrainian naval drones on February 14.

Ukrainian naval drones also destroyed Russia’s missile-armed corvette Ivanovets in February and, in the early days of the war, sunk the fleet’s flagship, Mosvka.

In turn, Moscow has relocated some of its Black Sea assets from its main base at Sevastopol to Novorossiysk, in Russia’s Krasnodar region. Moscow is also reportedly looking to locate its vessels even further away, in the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia.