Putin is having a hard time in Ukraine – and he likely wishes he never gave the green light to invade.
Still, Moscow is doing its best to hold its ground and maybe even retake ground it lost in recent weeks.
And social media will be around to capture every war crime he commits.
‘Sink That Ship’: Footage from Ukraine Shows ‘Kamikaze’ Drone Hit
“A Ukrainian boat was destroyed by a Russian Lancet loitering munition on the Dnipro river in the city of #Zaporizhzhia. The boat appears to be an up-gunned Project 376 Yaroslavets – similar examples were previously seen in use with the Ukrainian River Fleet,” @UAWeapons posted to Twitter.
In the highly-edited video, which was captured from multiple angles, a Russian Lancet drone can be seen striking the small watercraft, which is burning when the video ends.
Commentators on social media suggested the boat did take significant damage, yet, it may not have been destroyed or sunk.
Russian forces have certainly taken a page from the Ukrainian playbook and have used armed unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to target tanks and other vehicles. This appears to be the first use of the Lancet loitering munitions on a Ukrainian water vessel.
The ZALA Lancet was designed for both reconnaissance and strike missions.
It features optical-electronic guidance and a TV guidance unit, which allows the munition to be controlled during the terminal stage of flight. The Lancet has a maximum range of 40 kilometers (25 mi) and a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of up to 12 kilograms (26 lb). In its combat mode, it can be armed either with high explosive (HE) or HE-fragmentation warheads.
The River War in Ukraine
The boat seen in the video was reportedly operating essentially as a river patrol cutter, yet, the Project 376 Yaroslavets was actually developed in the 1950s to serve as a tug boat for river operations with a crew of around four. According to open-source intelligence, Kyiv reportedly had five of the Project 376 vessels in operation when Russia launched its unprovoked invasion in February 2022. Two of those were mobilized into the Ukrainian Navy as small patrol gunboats – though it is unclear if the other three were actually armed.
The destruction of the Ukrainian boat also comes just days after a Russian observation post on the Dnipro River was destroyed in a missile and artillery strike. At least one T-72 main battle tank (MBT) and six other armored vehicles were eliminated in the attacks on the Russian-held island in the river.
The boat appears to be a upgunned Project 376 Yaroslavets – similar examples were previously seen in use with the Ukrainian River Fleet. pic.twitter.com/9uCWl5oShi
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) April 17, 2023
Fighting has been intense on the waterway since Ukrainian forces liberated Kherson last November. The river, which bisects Ukraine in an arced path from Kyiv in the north to Kherson City in the south, became the effective frontline even after Russian forces withdrew from the regional capital.
It is likely both sides will employ drones, missiles, rockets, and artillery to keep the other side from gaining a foothold.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.