Russia says thwarted Ukraine attacks on Black Sea naval base, Crimea
Russia said Friday it had thwarted Ukrainian sea and air drone attacks on a naval base in the Black Sea and the Crimean peninsula.
The number of attacks in the sea has increased from both sides since Moscow exited a deal last month that had allowed Ukrainian grain exports via the shipping hub during the conflict between the two countries.
“Tonight, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the use of two unmanned sea boats, attempted an attack on the Novorossiysk naval base of the Russian Armed Forces,” the defence ministry said on Telegram.
Russian ships destroyed the naval drones, it said. It was the first such attack targeting the port city.
The Black Sea port of Novorossiysk hosts the terminus of a pipeline that carries most Kazakh oil exports through Russia.
The fuel artery’s operator Caspian Pipeline Consortium said it was continuing to ship oil to moored tankers at the terminal, Russian state media reported Friday.
But “a temporary ban has been established on the movement of ships in the port”, said the company, as quoted by Interfax news agency.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has been targeted since the beginning of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine more than a year ago, but attacks have increased in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Russia’s defence ministry said it foiled a Ukrainian drone attack targeting patrol boats in the Black Sea.
Three drones were trained on ships navigating in waters 340 kilometres (210 miles) southwest of Sevastopol, the base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea.
A similar attack was repelled a week earlier.
– Crimea attack repelled –
The ministry also said Friday it had downed 13 drones over the Crimean peninsula.
There were no casualties or damage in either attack, the ministry said.
Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, has been targeted by Kyiv throughout Moscow’s Ukraine offensive but has come under more intense, increased attacks in recent weeks.