Russian shore defenders in occupied Crimea scored a victory on Thursday, ambushing and killing nearly two dozen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s most highly trained and skilled special operations troops.

The early morning engagement took place near Tenderovsky Island, a narrow spit of land on the southeast coast of the Crimean Peninsula.

According to Russian sources, five small boats loaded with Ukrainian troops from the 73rd a hand-picked unit specializing in clandestine maritime attacks, approached a low-lying sandy beach and attempted to land. Russian units say that after a “short battle” they sank three of the landing craft, killing at least 20 Ukrainian special operators.

The Russian milblogger Kot Dobrokhod said special operations infantry from Russia’s Baltic Fleet conducted the ambush and suffered two wounded from a drone strike. Other pro-Russian milbloggers claimed that one Ukrainian boat was able to escape, and one boat and one prisoner were captured.

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Ukraine’s Defense Ministry confirmed that an “unsuccessful raid” had taken place near Tenderovsky Island and special operators were killed and wounded, without offering details.

Photographs initially published by the pro-Russian military information channel Povernutie Na Voine showed six corpses clad in Ukrainian military uniforms aboard a blood-stained military boat.

Other images showed a pair of NATO-standard .50 caliber machine guns mounted on the boat, seven individual weapons and boxes of ammunition. The pro-Russia military information channel Readovka, reported Russian troops had captured a Ukrainian flag.

Ukraine’s Strike on Russia’s Military Airfield in Dzhankoi: What We Know So Far
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Ukraine’s Strike on Russia’s Military Airfield in Dzhankoi: What We Know So Far

On April 17, Kyiv struck the Dzhankoi airfield on the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula. Launchers of anti-missile and air defense systems, radar systems, and Russian army aircraft were destroyed.

Some Ukrainian milbloggers criticized the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s (AFU) senior officers for, allegedly, micro-managing field operators from safe offices during the mission.

“They [top officers] give orders and others give their lives. For me this train wreck started when there are four warriors sitting in a boat and behind a computer screen telling them where to sit there are 15 big military bosses, who say ‘they really know how difficult things are.’ It really sucks when you realize this is not a system that will bring victory,” wrote a poster on sierra.team. Kyiv Post could not confirm the allegations.

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Since Russia’s Feb. 2022 invasion of Ukraine Kyiv special operations troops have generally fought effectively. Operators from the 73rd Naval Center are widely credited with successful amphibious raids targeting primarily Russian air defense and naval overwatch installations based in Crimea.

The secretive unit’s best-known operations include the July 2022 recapture of the strategic Zminiy Island in the western Black Sea and assaults that captured four Russian-controlled oil rigs off the south Crimea coast in Sep. 2023.

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Comments (8)

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Mike Welham
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Re the item - Ukrainian Spec Ops Disaster: 20 Reported Killed by Ambush on Small Boat Landing in Crimea by Stefan Korshak | February 29, 2024, 2:37 pm Has the detail in the item been fact checked. One the aspects of this is the visual evidence in the photos (I have the bodies in the boats) is that is the point that to engage five of these boats would require the enemy to use machine guns and even anti vehicle/tank weapons which would be available to defence forces but the boats are are undamaged. Is there any comments on this. Michael Welham - Author of Combat Divers Osprey Publishing 2023 Thank you

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Jiří
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V tomto případě zřejmě Ukrajinci podcenili průzkum terénu v místě vylodění, jestli vůbec nějaký průzkum byl podniknut ?

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Joseph King
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Слава і вічна пам'ять усім, хто віддав своє життя за Україну.
#StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦
#WeAreUkraine 💪
Все це Україна! 👍

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David
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My heart felt condolences to the families of the fallen heroes. Ukraine cannot afford to lose its best and brightest this way. It seems the Russians knew they were coming. Is Ukraine security leaking by traitors?

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JMiguel
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Killed for yet another attempt at a photo op to impress the west. What a waste...

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DarrenP
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Russian positions should have been blasted with a hoard of munitions and air airstrikes before this landing! Standard practice! These poor souls and planners have little left to throw at the orcs. Intel was misleading or a mole

FIRE
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@DarrenP, Preparatory strikes are conducted for massive amphibious landings such as D-Day, not a SOF insertion as any strikes will put the local forces on high alert, something you don't want during a cover insertion .

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Imokru2
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A tragedy for sure if true. In any war, there will be reverses, so this one is no different.
The end result will be mostly a win for Ukraine.

FIRE
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@Imokru2, Sure, keep telling yourself that.

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John
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The same Ukraine desired outcome while preventing the loss of these brave soldiers lives, probably could have been achieved with a couple allied missiles. Let's be clear that all murders in Ukraine are directly the putin regimes' fault. Russians know this but don't care. Ukrainians know this and mourn. The allies all know this but have yet to fully commit to Ukraine's defence.

Do allied leadership also yet accept that today's unnecessary loss is also their fault? That the missing defensive tools were their fault? That for the same reasons tomorrow's and next weeks and next months preventable losses in Ukraine will be as well?

These 20 precious highly skilled and courageous defenders lives are now irretrievably lost They will not be here tomorrow. Their families will mourn; the morally conscious abroad will mourn. What will our allied political leadership be doing tomorrow?

Do the will of your people allied leadership!

Ramp up weapons manufacturing as needed and get the proper weapons Ukraine needs for its defence into their hands ASAP.

Put NATO boots on the ground; in the air; on the sea in Ukraine's defence now!

Stop Putin's regime decisively now. Your delay is not a morally acceptable option.

Imokru2
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@John, Great idea, start a full fledged war in Europe with little to no support from the USA!

John
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@Imokru2, Similar thinkers are pleased with current allied response.

In my mind, too many these days seem content to let putin tell everyone else how they can and cannot help Ukraine. Ukraine would be conquered if everyone did that. So fortunately some allies cross putin's 'red lines' , to give Ukraine better weapons, and in the process rightfully morally embarrass the 'Dolittles' or worse 'DoNothings'.

My beef is weapon support remains incrementally slow and insufficient to finish the job. My beef is that NATO is okay enforcing no fly zones in the Balkans, but not in Ukraine which itself is defending EU interests. My Beef is no nation other than Ukraine even tries to stop russian attacks in international waters and airspace. We need to change that.

I've never actually started a fight. All physical fights I've been in, were solely to help a weaker victim. Almost every time, someone else feeling just as outraged, would inevitably join in to help me. We'd give it everything we had. Bullies never stop when you do. They stop when you make them stop. EVERY single time our bullies were sent scurrying away having learned a valuable lesson. There are less thugs than good people, and there is always strength in numbers.

Fire
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@John, Imagine believing that the NATO and US junta isn't as much a bully in Europe (and the wider world) as the Russians are in their sphere of influence. The level of delusion and mindless compliance with the current world order in your comment is disgusting.

John
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@Fire, Please explain further.

NATO is joined via a vetted application process requiring unanimous approval. Despite admission getting more difficult the list of NATO applicants grows. 5 other nations currently express interest in joining. No country is waiting to join Russia.

Since joining the NATO defensive league no member has attacked Russia.

The USSR (1921-91) occupied 17 EU nations.

The Russian Federation (1991-present) under putin has so far invaded 13 nations.

In its 75 years history, NATO has not attacked anyone. Its article 5 mutual defence clause was triggered only once by attacked USA (Bin Laden harboured in Afghanistan).

What was your point again?

Uros Serbia
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@John, Yes, they attacked Yugoslavia in 1999. And after all, they tried to change international recognized borders of sovereign country by supporting self proclaimed independence of Kosovo. Just FYI, Ukraine didn't recognized Kosovo's independece.

John
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@Uros Serbia,

Thats a good point. That NATO peacekeeping mission to stop convicted war criminal Milošević's genocide of Albanians in Kosovo had even had a bit less UNGA support (127 votes) against the russian backed Yugoslavia than this convicted war criminal, putin instigated war (141 UN members voting against russia .....which was even voted out of the UNHR).

Thus the precedent has already clearly been set for a NATO peacekeeping mission in Ukraine. This intervention is even more UN aligned and justified by international law protecting sovereign nations legal borders.

So what are you waiting for NATO leadership?

Even the russian trolls on Kyivpost now support that you should be helping Ukraine with a similar fighter jet assisted no russian fly zone and no russian peacekeeping presence.

Make it so NATO!

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