Using hi-tech speed boats and drones, Ukrainian naval special forces, “Seals,” are conducting operations along the islands of the Dnipro River, including a deadly one captured on video.
The Command of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine yesterday released a video on Facebook of a mission performed on a Russian-held position on a Dnipro River island in the Kherson region.
The Command said that the operation by troops of the 73rd Special Forces Maritime Center destroyed an enemy boat, killed three Russian soldiers and wounded five others. The unit is nicknamed “Seals” after their US Navy counterparts.
A pro-Russian milblogger yesterday posted that “devils still swim along the Dnipro in high-speed boats."
The released video opens with an unmanned surveillance drone conducting aerial reconnaissance of an unnamed island on the Dnipro.
Footage from the drone shows how it discovers a Russian observation post on a small rocky outcrop of the island.
The drone’s camera then zooms in on Russian soldiers jogging away from the observation post while the narrator indicates that they may be carrying drone blocking technology. Potentially as a result of that technology, Ukrainian special forces – whose unit is part of the Ukrainian navy – are said to lose contact with the surveillance drone.
Their commanders, however, decide that enough information has been collected to warrant a mission against the Russian observation post.
Following planning, the video says, a special forces assault team using two rigid inflatable speed boats is deployed during the night to commence an attack at dawn. Their mission is being remotely coordinated using drone and other communications means.
On inspection of the video, Kyiv Post assesses the speed boats used in the operation likely to be US-provided Willard Sea Force 730 or Willard Sea Force 11M speedboats (7 and 11 meters long respectively), 10 of which Ukraine’s navy has.
The boats are globally valued by special forces, according to military analysts, because they are equipped with
“On arrival at the observation post, it is decided to not open fire, but rather to draw fire to better visually establish the positions of enemy personnel,” the video’s narrator says.
A soldier can then be seen opening up with the heavy machine gun in the bow of one of the boats, as it closes on the observation post from about 100 meters.
“During the firefight, the Ukrainian Special Forces closed the distance to the enemy to some 15 to 20 meters. As a result, they were able to liquidate two enemy soldiers and injure a third,” the narrator says.
At this point, it is explained that the 2-boat team, which appears to consist of around 10 well-equipped soldiers, navigates upriver for safety and to further observe the situation. There, they begin to draw Russian artillery fire, which lands around them in the river.
More footage explains that Russian boats were then deployed to the area and it was decided to use FPV (first-person view) drones in an attempt to neutralize them.
The video proceeds to show a small craft in open water being hit by an explosion and then a second small craft rushing to it to transfer wounded. As the Russian craft retreat, they are again hit with drone strikes.
In this phase of the operation, the narrators says that an additional Russian soldier was killed and four more are wounded.
Since the beginning of Ukraine’s summer offensive, there have been reports of Ukrainian assault groups operating in the vicinity of the Antonivka Bridge across the Dnipro River near Kherson. They are believed to have a foothold on the left-bank of the Dnipro there, and, in an attempt to dislodge the small Ukrainian contingent, it has been a site of consistent Russian shelling and other activity for some weeks.
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