On April 29, several Ukrainian drones attacked the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, with at least one drone hitting a fuel storage facility, causing a massive fire.
Mikhail Razvozhayev, Sevastopol Governor, alleged on Telegram that only one drone was able to reach the oil reservoir. He added that another drone was downed, and its debris was discovered on the shore near the terminal.
Sevastopol, the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, has been struck by multiple drone attacks since the start of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
A Ukrainian military intelligence official claimed that the drone attack on the Crimean port city of Sevastopol caused severe damage to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, reported Reuters.
The attack reportedly destroyed more than ten tanks of oil products, which had a collective capacity of around 40,000 tonnes and were meant for the fleet’s use.
Razvozhayev has said that the fire that erupted at the oil storage facility following the Ukrainian drone attack has been brought under control.
The prompt response of the authorities and emergency services was critical in preventing the fire from spreading further and causing more damage, he added.
The Ukrainian drone that targeted the oil terminal in Sevastopol is reportedly a Mugin-5 drone.
Several images and videos circulating on the internet appear to show the wreckage of a drone that was downed by Russian forces near the Village of Zernovoye, providing some insight into the type of UAV used in the attack.
As per the sources cited by the Russian media SHOT, Crimea was reportedly attacked by at least six drones, out of which two successfully reached their targets. The media outlet also claimed that the drones involved in the attack were Mugin-5.
Furthermore, Sergey Aksenov, the head of “The Russian Republic of Crimea,” confirmed that Russian air defense forces had intercepted two Ukrainian drones that had flown over the territory.
One of the drones was shot down, while the other was reportedly neutralized through electronic warfare. According to Aksenov, there were no casualties or damage caused as a result of this interception.
He further explained that the attack on the peninsula was carried out in parallel with the drone attack on Sevastopol in the morning.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had boldly pledged to reclaim the country’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula.
Despite the significant obstacles in reclaiming Crimea from Russian control, Ukraine has been making things challenging for the Russian forces through a series of drone attacks.
Chinese-Made Mugin-5 Drone
The drone attacks in Crimea are not a new phenomenon. Similar attacks have occurred in the past. In March, reports emerged that a Mugin-5 drone was found in the Saki district, which is home to a Russian military airbase that has been targeted several times by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
There are also reports that the Mugin-5 drone, after being retrofitted and weaponized, has been used by Russian forces against Ukrainian positions.
Experts believe that the Russian military could also be modifying different types of drones for combat, aside from the Mugin-5 UAV. Pictures posted on social media in June 2022 and February 2023 depicted an orange drone that appeared to be a Mugin-4 based on its external design.
The Mugin-5 is a type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is commercially available and manufactured by a Chinese company.
The Mugin-5 drone, composed of lightweight and durable carbon fiber material, is available in various models and price ranges. Depending on the model and seller, the cost of the drone can vary significantly.
On Alibaba, for example, the standard fixed-wing Mugin-5 is priced at just under US$9,500, although previous prices have ranged between US$5,000 and US$10,000.
The Mugin-5 drone has a wingspan of approximately 16 feet, a fuselage length of just over 11 feet, and a maximum payload capacity of approximately 55 pounds. The drone is capable of flying at a speed of up to 74 miles per hour and can remain in flight for up to seven hours.
The drone has been known to be used for a variety of purposes, including aerial mapping, surveying, and reconnaissance.
However, the recent incidents involving the Mugin-5 drone in Crimea have highlighted the potential risks of using these technologies in conflict zones.