Russia has said it has recovered and reviewed the drones allegedly used by Ukraine to attack its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea’s Sevastopol on Saturday. According to preliminary findings, the Ukrainian drones were equipped with Canadian-made navigation.
“According to the results of the information recovered from the navigation receiver’s memory, it was established that the launch of maritime drones was carried out from the coast near the city of Odesa,” the defense ministry statement said.
Launch From Civilian Vessels
“This may indicate the preliminary launch of this device from aboard one of the civilian vessels chartered by Kyiv or its Western patrons for the export of agricultural products from the seaports of Ukraine,” the statement added.
The Russian defense ministry had earlier said the attack on its Black Sea Fleet involved as many as 16 Ukrainian drones and that British navy specialists had assisted Kyiv in launching the attack. While Britain denied the charge, Ukraine had claimed Moscow was behind the attack.
“Nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous marine drones were involved in the attack … The preparation of this terrorist act and the training of servicemen of the Ukrainian 73rd Special Center for Naval Operations were carried out under the guidance of British specialists located in the town of Ochakiv,” the defense ministry had said earlier.
Alleged UK Role
The Russian defense ministry also said a team of UK Navy specialists was behind an attack on Saturday. The UK specialists directed Ukrainian drone attacks on the fleet, which was repelled by Russian forces, though a Russian minesweeper suffered minor damage, the ministry said.
Ukraine, meanwhile, claimed that Russia was responsible for the attack, and that Moscow might have used this as a pretext to withdraw from the UN-brokered grain export deal.
NYT Says Ukraine Behind Attack
However, the New York Times, which is supportive of Ukraine and highly critical of Russia, said Ukraine actually carried out the Sevastopol attack. NYT said the attack capabilities obtained by Ukraine recently were “on display in the predawn hours of Saturday when Ukrainian drones hit a Russian vessel docked in the Black Sea Fleet’s home port of Sevastopol.”
The NYT added that the Sevastopol attack looked like “the most recent example of Ukrainian forces striking sensitive Russian sites from afar, illustrating how homemade drones and powerful weapons provided by Western nations have given the Ukrainians abilities that only the Russians had early in the war.”