On October 14, 2023, the russian Black Sea Fleet utilized mine-sweeping ships, including Vice-Admiral Zakharin, Ivan Antonov, Ivan Golubets, and Kovrovets, to conduct combat trawling to clear out sea mines in the outer roadstead of Sevastopol Bay, marking the first time since 1974 that such action was taken in russia.
This information was reported by the bmpd blog (available in public access), referencing the Morskoy sbornik monthly magazine from the russian Ministry of Defense, issue No. 12 (not available in public access).
To put it simply, the Ukrainian Defense Forces in an unknown way successfully deployed a significant number of sea mines in the area in October 2023, prompting an immediate need for combat trawling by the russian fleet.
And apparently, this episode was so sensitive that russians acknowledged the very fact of such an event only two months later.
Surface ships of the Ukrainian Navy can be ruled out as the source of mine deployment.
Just in case, we remind you that publicly available data indicates the Balta auxiliary ship was converted into a minelayer just months before russia's full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.
Instead, we should pay attention to The Times' mention of Ukrainian naval drones capable of laying sea mines.
According to the British newspaper, the Ukrainian Defense Forces reportedly possess unmanned boats with this capability, although specific details remain undisclosed.
This incident follows a pattern where russian authorities acknowledge Ukrainian successes with a significant time lag, which Ukraine itself kept silent about.
For instance, in September 2023, russia admitted that one Tu-141 Strizh suicide drone damaged three Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and one Kh-32 missile at Dyagilevo air base in December 2022 — acknowledged 9 months after the incident occurred.
Read more: Attack Helicopters on Crimean Beach, Or How russians Hide Their Aviation on Secret Air Base at Seaside Resort (Satellite Photo)