A MYSTERIOUS ship widely thought to be a Ukrainian suicide drone has run aground near a major Russian naval base.
The ship was found in Omega Bay, near the port of Sevastopol, leased by the Russians from Ukraine before Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, where it is located.
The drone is believed to be part of several donations to Ukraine by the United States in an effort to help turn the tide on Russia’s large navy.
How it came to rest on the rocks of Omega Bay remains a mystery, but it remains intact, suggesting mechanical failure.
Although the interior is not shown, submarine expert HI Sutton believes its “curved shape, with external reinforcement, suggests a warhead”.
“Going further, one theory is that this device is designed to ram another ship and detonate, like a modern interpretation of an explosive boat,” he wrote in Naval News.
“That also explains the cluster of sensors at the bow.”
He said the vessel “seems to have overtaken the Russian Navy patrol boats”.
Sutton described the drone “as small but useful” and is powered by a single motor, mounted internally, driving a steerable water jet.
“It suggests relatively high performance, it’s made for speed,” he added.
“And such a small vessel, the size of a kayak, would probably have a very small radar signature.”
Sevastopol was targeted by Ukrainian aerial drones in August with huge plumes of black smoke rising from the base as horrified tourists watched,
It is understood the Naval HQ suffered a direct hit when a drone exploded on the roof.
The Russians claimed the ship was destroyed after being captured, although the explanation is unlikely unless its intelligence already knew.
Ukrainian special operators are known to carry out raids by water in southern Ukraine, so the ship could have been on a surveillance mission when it ran aground, reports The Drive.
What were described as “unmanned coastal defense vessels” were part of a military aid package for Ukraine announced by the Pentagon in April.
“It is an unmanned surface vessel that can be used for a variety of purposes in coastal defense,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at the time.
“I think I’ll leave it at that.”
Throughout the war, Ukrainian fighters used relatively cheap drones to wreak havoc with Russia.
Last March, a team of amateur drone users claimed to have succeeded in destroying the infamous 40-mile Russian “death convoy” of tanks and armored vehicles in a series of ambushes.