Did Russia Spoof Fake US and Brit Destroyer Positions in Black Sea?

Image of the Russian Warships Petr Velikiy. HMS St Albans was joined by three Royal Air Force Typhoon jets while they sailed next to the Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the Nuclear powered guided missile cruiser Petr Velikiy.

In my three earlier pieces on the British-Russian naval confrontation on the Black Sea, or the information war about whether there was a confrontation, I noted that it appears the Russians spoofed the British destroyer’s position. It now appears they have done it again, just yesterday – to a U.S. destroyer.

The first incident of  automatic identification system (AIS) spoofing in the Black Sea took place on June 18 and was reported several days later by USNI NewsThis spoofing showed the British destroyer HMS Defender together with the Royal Netherlands Navy frigate Evertsen sailing within just two nautical miles of the Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea, according to MarineTraffic.

In reality, live webcam feeds showed that the two warships remained in the harbor the entire time some 180 miles away, in Odessa, where they had arrived earlier in the day.

As reported, after that AIS spoofing event, HMS Defender did indeed sail close to Crimea with the United Kingdom claiming that the warship was “conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”

As I noted though, in an apparent information war, claims and counter-claims followed, including Russia releasing video of supposed warning shots fired from a Russian Border Guard patrol boat. However, as The Drive notes, “Defender was so far away at the time that it may well not have been aware that this fire was being directed at it, which is what the British authorities had claimed at the time.”

Now we have a new spoofing incident involving the USS Ross which is currently in the region to take part in the latest iteration of the annual U.S. Navy-led Sea Breeze exercise. The American destroyer entered the Black Sea on June 26, according to the U.S. Navy. And yesterday, reports The Drive, its position was also spoofed:

… MarineTraffic and VesselFinder, aggregators that provide real-time information on ship movements, showed USS Ross sailing very close to the Crimean coast, causing a big stir in the online open source intelligence community. If true, this would have put the ship closer to the Russian-occupied peninsula than the U.K. Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender had been on June 23. In that instance, the British ship had sailed within around 10 miles of Crimea, prompting a response from Russia’s security forces.

However, while online ship tracking appeared to show that USS Ross was underway very close to Crimea, accompanied by the Ukrainian Matka class hydrofoil patrol boat Priluki, also known by its hull number U153, in reality, the U.S. Navy destroyer was sitting in a harbor. This was initially evidenced by a live webcam feed hosted on YouTube that shows the vessel in the Ukrainian port of Odesa. 

The official Twitter account for the exercise also confirmed that the U.S. destroyer was in the port of Odessa when the online tracking showed it off Crimea.

While Russia’s involvement in the spoofing can’t be confirmed, it is the most likely culprit. In the past, there has also been GPS spoofing traced to the Russians in the Black Sea. Ultimately, eroding the trust in this public data among foreign observers and the military could benefit Russia. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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Elizabeth Estrada aka CHIAKIA

LISTEN UP…..IF a MAN Does NOT Have INTEGRITY…..WHAT Does HE Have???? From SamuraiQueen. 😄😄😄

1 year ago

That’s not fair. Buyme doesn’t stand a chance standing up to the Russians.

1 year ago

Putin is conducting psyops against the West.

Charles Nolan
1 year ago

As Putin knows that the Russian people have access to Western news, he fills the Western news with disinformation to confuse the Russian people. He feeds a fear of foreign conquest to justify his harsh methods of control.
The Democrats do the same thing in the US, copying the methods of other socialists and communists, like Hitler and Stalin, using class warfare and racial hatred as their vehicles of fear. Letting criminals out of jail of jail increases murder and looting rates and justifies restrictions on self defense and free speech.
When the police in San Jose, CA cannot manage the out of control crime, the mayor seeks to disarm the victims, taxing personal firearms, and thereby forcing universal registration. Soon the locations of personal fire arms will be a public record available to the criminals.
I am hoping to see criminal charges of civil rights violations and liability for increased crime filed against any who seek to disarm innocent citizens, just as people of color have rights to sit in any seat on a bus. Which is most important, the seat on a bus or self defense?

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