Ukraine security services have unveiled exclusive footage to CNN, showcasing the pivotal moment in July when they employed an experimental sea drone to target Russia’s bridge to annexed Crimea. This footage not only offers new insights into the attack but also serves as a warning of impending similar assaults.
A Bold Claim and a Daring Operation
Marking the first time the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has openly taken responsibility for the operation, the attack occurred on July 17, resulting in damage to the bridge’s road lanes and, according to Russian authorities, the loss of two civilian lives. This incident highlights the challenge of safeguarding Russia’s only independent connection to the peninsula.
The Significance of the Annexation Bridge
Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated the bridge in 2018, symbolizing his ambition to absorb Ukraine into Russia’s fold. Besides its symbolic importance, the bridge serves as a critical supply route for Russia’s military endeavors in Crimea.
The Role of the “Sea Baby” Drone
The SBU’s head, Vasyl Maliuk, disclosed to CNN that the drone employed, named the “Sea Baby,” was a result of months of development post-invasion. Maliuk emphasized the uniqueness of these sea surface drones, emphasizing that they are a product of the SBU’s ingenuity, without any private sector involvement. These drones were instrumental in successful strikes on the Crimean bridge, the Olengorskiy Gornyak assault ship, and the SIG oil tanker.
Expanding Reach and Impact
The attack on the Russian assault ship showcased an extended range for the Ukrainian military, striking a vessel with possible crew strength in Novorossisk, Russia’s Black Sea naval port. The successful strikes were facilitated by drones equipped with up to 850 kilograms of explosives, capable of precisely targeting specific support pillars of the bridge.
Unveiling the Footage and Taking Responsibility
The SBU provided CNN with video footage of the July attack, unveiling the drone’s pilot screen moments before the attack. Additionally, CCTV videos exhibited the actual moments of impact. Maliuk’s explicit claim of responsibility was an unusually direct move to highlight the threat posed by these new drones.
Anticipating Future Moves
Maliuk hinted at forthcoming operations, including those in the Black Sea waters, hinting at an ongoing commitment to leverage their drone capabilities. The SBU chief also took responsibility for the first Ukrainian attack on the bridge in October but refrained from divulging specific details surrounding the incident.
Behind the Scenes: Preparation and Victory
Maliuk described the meticulous preparation leading up to the attack, emphasizing the joint efforts of the Ukrainian navy. The emotionally charged moment of success marked a triumph for the team, reinforcing their belief in imminent victories.
International Interest and Legitimate Targets
Maliuk revealed that Ukraine’s western partners expressed interest in their operations, eager to learn from their experience. Despite this curiosity, Maliuk clarified that no foreign entities participated in their operations or provided equipment. He highlighted the legality of the targeted entities according to both Ukrainian and international laws.
Expanding the Battlefield
The attack on the Gornyak vessel and SIG tanker underscores the expanding threat to Russia’s naval operations in the Black Sea’s eastern region, previously deemed beyond the Ukrainian military’s reach.
In conclusion, the unveiling of this footage offers an unprecedented insight into Ukraine’s strategic employment of experimental drones. While these actions undoubtedly raise geopolitical tensions, they also shed light on the evolving landscape of modern warfare and the role of advanced technologies.