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Ukraine conflict: Ukraine reports sinking two Russian patrol ships during UAV strike

The Russian Navy operates a fleet of 17 Project 03160 Raptor fast patrol boats. (Nikolai Novichkov)

Ukraine claims that it has sunk two Russian Navy patrol ships during an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) strike on 2 May.

Video footage released by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on its official Twitter account shows what appears to be a Ukrainian Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) striking two Russian Navy Project 03160 Raptor-class fast patrol boats in the Black Sea. The footage, dated 2 May, shows the successful engagement of the first boat at 0438 h local time, and the second at 0451 h local time.

In a statement accompanying the video, Ukrainian armed forces commander-in-chief General Valery Zaluzhny, said, “Two Raptor boats were destroyed at dawn today near Snake Island”, which is located roughly 70 n miles south of Odessa. Although both boats appeared to be hit in the video, it is not clear from the footage whether they sank.

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not yet commented on the claims.

The Russian Navy operates a fleet of 17 Raptor-class ships in total, seven of which are based with the Black Sea fleet. Designed to conduct patrols in coastal areas and straits, the Raptor-class boats have a full load displacement of 23 tonnes, an overall length of 16.9 m, a top speed of 48 kt, and a standard range of 300 n miles at 35 kt. They carry a crew complement of three. Armament includes one 14.5 mm remote weapon station and two 7.62 mm machine guns.

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