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sea drone

Russian tanker hit by Ukrainian sea drone near Kerch Strait

A Ukrainian sea drone reportedly struck a Russian tanker that is subject to U.S. sanctions.

On Friday (4 August 2023), a Ukrainian sea drone reportedly struck a Russian tanker that is subject to U.S. sanctions. The incident occurred near a strategically significant bridge in the Kerch Strait, a vital link between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

The vessel, named the “Sig,” sustained damage on its starboard side, near the waterline, as confirmed by Russia’s Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport. The agency stated that the damage was likely caused by a sea drone attack, though no casualties were reported.

Although no immediate public attribution was made, a confidential source within Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) informed NBC News that the drone strike was part of a joint operation with the Ukrainian Navy. The source indicated that the targeted tanker was transporting fuel destined for Russian troops. The attack employed a combination of surface drones and TNT explosives, resulting in a visible explosion. However, the authenticity of the footage remains unverified.

SBU Chief Vasyl Malyuk responded to the incident, describing the action as a logical response to an adversary’s presence in Ukrainian territorial waters. He suggested that the Russians could prevent such occurrences by vacating these disputed waters.

Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of Ukraine’s Security and Defence Council, underscored the advancement in Ukrainian combat capabilities, emphasising the improving accuracy of combat drones and the enhanced effectiveness of operational coordination.

The maritime strike briefly disrupted traffic on the Crimean Bridge, leading to a suspension of ferry transport for several hours. Notably, this incident follows closely after another sea drone strike on a Russian navy vessel near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, which was reportedly thwarted by Russian defences.

This heightened tension in the Black Sea region follows Russia’s decision to exit an agreement facilitating the safe export of Ukrainian grain. Such actions have led to increased instability and clashes between the two nations.

In recent weeks, both Russian and Ukrainian forces have targeted key port cities, such as Odesa and Izmail, resulting in significant damage and fires that affect essential grain export facilities. These strikes have substantial implications for global food markets, particularly for regions already grappling with food scarcity.

The ongoing conflict underscores Ukraine’s vital role as a significant supplier of essential agricultural products to various parts of the world. The situation continues to unfold, with potential ramifications for logistics and supply chain dynamics across the region.

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