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The Historical Significance of the UAV Attack Near Taganrog, Even if it Targeted a Tugboat and Barge

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Liutyi UAV / Open source photo
Liutyi UAV / Open source photo

Regarding the enhancement of long-range strike capabilities by the Ukrainian Armed Forces

russian media propagandists claimed that on June 9, 2024, around 21:00, in the area of the russian port of Taganrog, Ukrainian drones struck the tugboat Engineer Smirnov and the barge Section-179.

The video footage included in the report captures a powerful explosion that occurred after the strike.

Read more: ​Not a Retreat But a Change of Tactics: russia Explains Relocation of Warships Further in the Sea of Azov

In this story, it's important not to focus solely on the nature of the target, but rather to emphasize the historical significance of this attack.

This was the first time in the full-scale war that Ukrainian drones hit a russian target in the Sea of Azov. It also signifies a significant increase in the long-range strike capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Firstly, to strike near Taganrog, Ukrainian drones had to navigate through the dense air defense system of the russian forces in the frontline zone, which they successfully accomplished. Notably, the size of the targets allegedly hit during this attack is particularly interesting.

The tugboat Engineer Smirnov, a Project 81200 vessel, has a hull length of 31.4 meters and a width of 10.2 meters. The barge Section-179, a Project P-156 vessel, has a hull length of 114.5 meters and a beam of 14.07 meters.

In other words, these affected vessels are the same size as the russian Black Sea Fleet ships that entered the Azov Sea under the guise of "not an escape, but an exercise." This suggests that after targeting the barge and tug, the next target could be something more powerful from the Black Sea Fleet.

Defense Express
russian ships move out from Novorossiysk with an unknown purpose on June 6th, 2024 / Sentinel satellite imagery

Another intriguing and mysterious aspect of this story is how the strike could have been executed. One theory is that Ukrainian engineers have developed a telecontrol system for long-range UAVs, enabling them to transmit images in real-time and guide them to their targets. If true, this suggests that the attack on the barge and tugboat was only the initial step in advancing this technology for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The possibility of a potential "coordinated strike" should also be considered. It's worth noting that there is a precedent: in 2019, the Shahed-136 underwent its first real combat test by targeting a surface object, namely an Israeli tanker.

However, even if only the second scenario is verified, it still signals the potential start of systematic attacks, which will now pose a threat to russian forces in the Sea of Azov.

The seaport in Taganrog, Defense Express
The seaport in Taganrog / Open source photo
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