How Britain is helping Ukraine clear Russian sea mines from Odesa

Once located, either a second drone with a camera or a diver is used to identify the object and prepare it for destruction if necessary. The mine hunting mission in Odesa will “prove the route” for the civilian grain cargoes.

“It’s like a dredged area, a clear area they can use to get this grain and important shipping out of Ukraine,” Lt Carpenter said. “That’s the important thing.”

Mines on the seabed do not detach to float up and physically hit ships passing above them.

Instead, once they detect a ship they detonate. The resultant “bubble pulse effect” multiplies the blast as the exploding gases ascend towards the surface.

“It can break the back of ships,” Lt Carpenter said. “It can be catastrophic for shipping in coastal waters.”

The Remus 100 is about 1.6m long and shaped like a torpedo. It has no explosive elements, but carries two side-scanning sonars.

Once programmed on a ship or shore base, the drone searches an area in a racetrack pattern. It is able to detect suspicious items as small as footballs.

The data and imagery produced are then analysed to decide whether any “mine-like contacts” have been identified.

Admiral Sir Ben Key, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, said: “Through the expert skills being taught here, our Ukrainian allies will be able to clear their own waters of mines.

“These weapons target shipping indiscriminately, but particularly affect civilian traffic and trade and have had a devastating impact on freedom of navigation in the Black Sea.

“This training is another powerful demonstration of the UK’s ongoing commitment to Ukraine in their fight to defend their country and repel Russian aggression.”

‘This is war. But victory will be with us’

Andrii said the team had paused briefly to mark Ukraine’s Independence Day on Aug 24.

“Deep inside we do celebrate,” he said, “but we understand how important this process is and how short the time is for us to learn. We see Russia as a terrorist country.

“We will fight until we have recovered all our territory, Crimea and all our territories Donetsk and Luhansk as well. My family is there, my friends are there. Victory is going to be with us.”

Vasyl agreed. “We try to celebrate in our souls, but we still feel for our civilian community.

“My message to the whole Ukrainian nation is: be strong, be patient. It is not an easy job. This is war. But victory will be with us.”

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