Kiev proudly presented a division of operators of unmanned surface vehicles (UASV) called “Group 13”. The unit has been formed as part of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of Ukraine.
The commander of the unit with the call-sign ’13th’ gave an interview claiming responsibility for the attacks on the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
- According to the officer, they used 10 boats in the recent attack on the Russian missile boat Ivanovets, 4 of which were destroyed by the Russian crew. The attack took place on January 31, 2024.
- The first attack by the Group 13 targeted Ivan Khurs reconnaissance ship in the south-western waters of the Black Sea on May 24, 2023. This was the first attack on Russian ship away from the seaports. Ukrainian boats had previously targeted the Sevastopol Bay, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is deployed. Despite the proud claims of the ’13th’, the attack on Ivan Khurs could not be called successful. As a result of the operation, three boats were destroyed and the ship came back to Sevastopol without any significant damage.
- The Ukrainian officer claimed that his fighters launched two attacks on the Russian patrol boat Sergey Kotov. According to the reports and official claims by the Russian Ministry of Defense, Sergey Kotov was targeted by Ukrainian drones three times on July 25, August 1 and September 5, 2023. None of the attacks ended with Ukrainian victory. In the first attack, Ukrainian forces lost two USVs. The second attack resulted in destruction of three more USVs. Five more were destroyed by the Russian crew as a result of the third Ukrainian attempt to attack the boat.
- Finally, the Group 13 claimed that it sank two Russian landing boats near Chernomorskoe. The attack in question likely took place on November 10, 2023, when four Ukrainian unmanned boats entered the Uzkaya bay in Crimea, where one of the bases of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is located in Chernomorskoe. The landing boats of project 11770 “Serna” came under attack. According to the footage shared by the Ukrainian military, at least one of the boats caught fire, but it was not confirmed whether the boats sank.
Indeed, Ukrainian unmanned boats pose a great threat to the Russian Navy operating in the Black Sea region. Ukrainian attacks have already brought several victories to Kiev; but the Russian military is learning how to protect military facilities from Ukrainian drones and to repel their attacks. Most of Ukrainian operations in the Black Sea failed.
The media campaign launched to glorify the ‘Group 13’ unit also hides the truth that all their operations are possible only thanks to their coordination by NATO reconnaissance in the Black Sea region and provision of all the necessary equipment, technologies and USVs themselves to Ukraine by Kiev’s Western patrons, mainly from London.
Ukrainians couldn’t even come up with the name for the unit. They copied the Israeli idea of the Shayetet 13 (‘Flotilla 13’), which is a unit of the Israeli Navy specialized in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence operations.
Another interesting coincidence is that the name could be chosen in honor of the organisation of Jewish Nazi collaborators in Warsaw. Group 13 was the unofficial name the organization that operated on the territory of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II until July 1941. The organization got its name from the headquarters, which was located at 13 Leshno Street. The link to the Ukrainian operators of naval drones is not obvious; but such coincidences are rarely accidental in modern Ukraine.
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