Russian Ships Hit by ‘Sea Babies’ – Ukraine’s New Weapon

Ukraine’s navy and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) have confirmed the successful targeting of two Russian Black Sea naval ships using innovative “experimental weaponry.”

Russian Buyan-class missile corvette targeted by Ukraine's experimental weaponry.
Russian Buyan-class missile corvette targeted by Ukraine’s experimental weaponry. Photo:

October 13, 2023, Kyiv – Ukraine has confirmed the striking of two Russian Black Sea naval ships over the past three days. This operation, executed jointly by Ukraine’s navy and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), utilized cutting-edge “experimental weaponry” that has taken naval warfare to a new level.

According to a source within the SBU, the missile carrier Buyan was the first target, coming under attack on Friday. The subsequent attack on the Pavel Derzhavin ship occurred on Wednesday. The source explained, “After the initial detonation, Russian minesweepers and divers were baffled by the unprecedented technology, leaving them unable to decipher our method.” Fortunately for the Russian submarine Alrosa, it narrowly evaded destruction.

However, the missile carrier Buyan was not as fortunate. It faced the full force of Ukraine’s innovative “Sea Babies” weaponry during the Sevastopol raid. Startlingly, this marks a significant escalation in naval warfare, underlining the potency of these experimental munitions.

As of now, there have been no reports of damage or casualties from these attacks. Nevertheless, videos circulating on social media on Friday revealed a Russian ship, presumably the Buyan, emitting thick plumes of smoke off the coast of Sevastopol.

The SBU issued a stern warning, stating, “The Security Service of Ukraine advises the Russian fleet not to venture into Ukrainian waters if they intend to safeguard any remnants of their fleet.”

The ‘Sea Baby’ is an advanced iteration of a Ukrainian Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV). Notably, it was first employed in the assault on Crimea’s Kerch Bridge on July 17, indicating its growing significance in military operations. This updated version features a novel hull design characterized by a skiff-like rising bow. Most importantly, it may have been equipped with a specialized warhead, reportedly weighing 860kg – substantially larger than previous models.

Reports of the Pavel Derzhavin’s attack initially emerged on Thursday, with the cause remaining uncertain at that time. This ship is one of the Russian navy’s latest Type 22160 corvettes, a 94-meter-long patrol vessel weighing 1,500 tons and equipped with Kalibr anti-ship missiles.

Russian social media platforms reported an explosion in close proximity to the vessel around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, as it sailed near the entrance to the Sevastopol harbor, a traditional hub for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Following the incident, Russian officials suspended all public transportation in Sevastopol, including local ferries, for undisclosed reasons. By Wednesday evening, the Russian language Wikipedia page dedicated to the vessel had declared it a total loss and was subsequently closed.

The Pavel Derzhavin was constructed at the Kerch shipyard, which was annexed from Ukraine after Russia’s invasion and takeover of Crimea in 2014. The ship was commissioned at the end of 2020 and joined the Black Sea Fleet in June 2022, four months after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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This ship is primarily equipped to carry Kalibr long-range cruise missiles and Tor anti-aircraft radar systems. Before the conflict, the Type 22160 corvette class was intended for missions such as patrolling territorial waters, anti-submarine warfare, and escorting cargo ships.

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