Ukrainian Bayraktar drones have successfully hit Russian air defences and resupply ships, report the Ministry of Defence (MoD) today (May 11). The resupply vessels have limited protection as they cross the western Black Sea, after the Russian Navy retreated to Crimea following the humiliating loss of their flagship the Moskva. This continues the logistical issues that have crippled Russia’s invasion, with undefended supply chains left ripe for ambush by Ukrainian forces.
While Russia took over the island on the first day of the invasion, February 24, fighting continues to rage in the seas around it – perhaps in an indication of how little Putin has achieved after nearly 11 weeks of conflict.
The MoD added: “Russia’s current efforts to augment its forces on Zmiinyi Island offer Ukraine more opportunities to engage Russian troops.”
Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, plays a crucial role in defining Ukrainian waters.
It became renowned early in the conflict for the response of Ukrainian coast guards who told naval ships to “go f*** yourself” after being invited to surrender.
UK intelligence warned that if it is finally consolidated by the Kremlin’s forces, “they could dominate the north-western Black Sea.”
Today’s report comes just after Putin was humiliated as a Russian “parade boat”, used to inspect naval fleets, was destroyed by Ukrainian forces just off Snake Island on May 8.
Ukrainian officials reported the successful hit on the boat which had previously been used for inspections in Sevastopol and St Petersburg.
It has been used for military exercises and speeches by the President – but was destroyed the day before Russia’s Victory Day celebration.
A Serna-class landing craft was also destroyed near Snake Island by a Bayraktar drone on Sunday, with the Ukrainian military releasing a video of the burning ship.
The defence ministry taunted Putin, saying alongside the video: “The traditional parade of the Russian Black Sea fleet on May 9 this year will be held near Snake Island – at the bottom of the sea.”
The Turkish-made Bayraktar drones have been used throughout the Ukrainian’s defence of their country, famed for being able to deliver highly precise missile strikes.
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A video posted toward the end of February on the Facebook page of Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, demonstrated the drone’s power.
The video depicted the drone unleashing a targeted strike on a vehicle convoy, obliterating it.
The caption of the video read: “Behold the work of our life-giving Bayraktar!
“Welcome to Hell!”
The Bayraktar appears to have gained a legendary status in Ukraine since the war began, with a baby lemur in a zoo being named after it.
A folk song was also released about the drone, claiming it “makes ghosts out of Russian bandits.”