Ukraine claims its GUR Group 13 Special forces with Magura V5 Drones sank the Russian large Landing Ship Tsezar’ Kunikov

No Confirmation from Russia.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU), along with forces from the country’s Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR), sunk the Russian “big landing ship” “Tsezar’ Kunikov,” according to the AFU’s General Staff. At the time of the hit, it was in Ukrainian territorial seas near Alupka, according to a General Staff statement released on Wednesday morning, February 14.

The Main Intelligence Directorate published a video purporting to depict the destruction of the “Tsezar’ Kunikov.” According to the agency, Magura V5 strike sea drones struck the ship, and the operation was carried out by GUR “Group 13” special troops. As a result, the ‘Tsezar’ Kunikov’ suffered serious breaches on the port side and began to sink, Ukrainian intelligence stated, adding that the Russian search and rescue mission “was not successful.” The GUR estimates that the “Tsezar’ Kunikov” can accommodate up to 87 crew members.

The Russian Ministry of Defence announced that six drones were shot down over the Black Sea.

The Russian Ministry of Defence did not respond to claims of the landing ship’s loss at the time of publishing. Previously, the department said that six unmanned aerial vehicles were “intercepted and destroyed” over Black Sea waters on the night of February 14. It is impossible to check the comments of representatives from both sides using independent sources.

The Ukrainian Pravda was the first to report about the sinking of the “Tsezar’ Kunikov” using sources from the GUR. The Ukrainian Telegram channel “Crimean Wind” shared a photo of the supposed sinking location, which shows remnants of explosions and rescue boats. The channel previously reported that inhabitants of Yalta, Alupka, and other communities in seized Crimea heard explosions at night.

It is symbolic that the Russian officer, after whom the ship was named, was killed exactly 101 years ago, – stressed the GUR.

Tsezar’ Kunikov was Cargo laden

According to Ukrinform, which cited the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, “Tsezar’ Kunikov” was transporting cargo at the time of its sinking. Based on the preliminary visual assessment of the ship’s debris, GUR said the “Tsezar’ Kunikov” was loaded at the time of sinking.

According to the statement, the Russians’ radio conversations that were intercepted at the scene of the destruction of the large landing ship “Tsezar’ Kunikov” indicate that only an “oily spot” remained from the enemy vessel after the attack by the special forces of the GUR of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence.

A visual assessment of the spot where the ship sank was being carried out by Russian helicopters Ka-52 and Mi-8, as per GUR. The An-26, a military transport aircraft, functions as the data relay.

“I see debris and an oily spot,” the Russian pilot notes, as claimed by GUR.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the “Tsezar’ Kunikov” had been moored near a specialized berth wall (known as a “blind”) for ten days, from which the Russians loaded ships with military equipment and machinery.

Russia reduced the number of ships in the Black Sea to Three

Three Russian ships are now engaged in combat operations in the Black Sea; however, there are no missile carriers, per the Southern Defence Forces Telegram channel. 

The statement said the formation of the enemy fleet in the Black Sea had been reduced to three hostile ships, with one of those ships being stationed in the Azov Sea. 

GUR Group 13 Special Forces

The Group 13 branch of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence is reportedly engaged in the destruction of Russian vessels.

As per GUR, this unit has accounted for the assaults on over five hostile vessels. The missile vessel “Ivanovets,” the patrol ship “Sergey Kotov,” and the frigate “Admiral Makarov” are a few examples.

Six of the ten surface drones used in the assault on the “Ivanovets” were successful, according to information disclosed by one of the unit’s combatants. 

Magura V5 Strike Sea Drone

Recent Ukrainian assaults in Crimea and the waters of the Black Sea confirm that unmanned surface drones are in the arsenal of the Ukrainian military.

During the summer of 2023, the maritime unmanned drone MAGURA V5 was unveiled at an international arms exhibition in Turkey by the Ukrainian state-owned “Spetstechnoexport.” 


Based on data published by “Spetstechnoexport,” the MAGURA V5 maritime drone can cruise at an approximate rate of 40 km/h and attain a maximum speed of 78 km/h. The dimensions of the drone are as follows: 5.5 metres in length, 1.5 metres in width, and a mere 0.5 metres in height above the waterline.

The MAGURA V5 can target objects at up to 450 nautical miles (830 km). However, one of the drone’s primary advantages is its ability to carry approximately 300 kilograms of payload. 

During operation, the surface unmanned drone MAGURA V5 is controlled via satellite or radio network. The drone is outfitted with a camera that can send live images. 

As per the developer, MAGURA V5 can perform a variety of operations. Aside from engaging hostile targets, the drone may do surveillance, patrol, search, and rescue missions. Furthermore, the drone can be employed to guard the fleet or to countermine.

The design of every drone’s hardware and software originates in Ukraine.


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