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22 Aug, 2023 10:53

US-made military speedboat destroyed off Ukrainian coast – Moscow

The vessel was carrying a Ukrainian amphibious team, the Russian Defense Ministry has said
US-made military speedboat destroyed off Ukrainian coast – Moscow

Russian forces have destroyed a US-made speedboat carrying a Ukrainian amphibious team in the northern part of the Black Sea, the Defense Ministry in Moscow reported on Tuesday.

The boat was struck east of Snake Island, the statement said, referring to a small area of land off the Ukrainian coast and close to Romanian territorial waters.

The Russian military had identified the target as a Willard Sea Force watercraft and destroyed it in an air attack, the ministry added.

Later in the day the ministry released footage of the encounter, which was apparently filmed from the Russian warplane. It showed the speedboat performing maneuvers as the aircraft fired at it in short bursts.

California-based Willard Marine sold five boats to the Ukrainian military in 2013, with the US funding the acquisition, according to media reports. The vessels were delivered to Odessa in 2015. Eight boats were purchased from the same source several years prior, when Kiev footed the bill.

The Sea Force line includes a range of rigid inflatable patrol boats. Ukraine purchased versions suitable for a team of up to six, ten, or 26 troops, depending on the size of the model.

Snake Island was captured by Russian forces shortly after hostilities with Ukraine broke out in February 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry withdrew troops from the island in June, in what Kiev claimed to be a major military victory. However, Russia described the move as a gesture of goodwill to promote the Black Sea grain deal.

The arrangement allowed Ukraine to export farm products via the Black Sea. It collapsed last month after Moscow accused the West of failing to facilitate Russia’s agriculture and fertilizer trade, contrary to promises made by the UN when the deal was struck.