Kremlin bluntly threatens retaliation for Ukrainian ‘terrorist’ attack on Russian tanker in the Black Sea just 24 hours before Kyiv bombarded a second warship with drones
- Russian Foreign Ministry said these ‘barbaric actions’ will ‘not go unanswered’
- READ MORE: Moment drone attack hits key Russian naval base, sparking fireball
Moscow promised retaliation today after Ukrainian drones hit a Russian tanker in the Black Sea near Crimea late last night, the second sea attack involving just drones in one day.
Moscow strongly condemned what it sees as a Ukrainian ‘terrorist attack’ on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
‘There can be no justification for such barbaric actions, they will not go unanswered and their authors and perpetrators will inevitably be punished,’ she wrote on Telegram.
As Kyiv’s naval capabilities grow, the Black Sea is becoming an increasingly important battleground in the war.
Footage from last night’s attack shows how the 4,754-ton SIG oil and chemical Russian tanker was struck by an unmanned Ukrainian marine drone in the Black Sea off the coast of annexed Crimea.
Moscow strongly condemned what it sees as a Ukrainian ‘terrorist attack’ on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (pictured). ‘There can be no justification for such barbaric actions, they will not go unanswered and their authors and perpetrators will inevitably be punished,’ she wrote on Telegram
Footage shows how the 4,754-ton SIG oil and chemical tanker was struck by a marine drone
A Ukrainian intelligence source said that the drone with 450 kg of explosives hit the SIG vessel as it transported fuel for the Russian military in Ukrainian territorial waters.
‘The tanker was well loaded with fuel, so the ‘fireworks’ were seen from afar,’ they said.
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The engine room of the 463ft-long vessel was flooded and the 11 crew members suffered abrasions from shattered glass.
The hit came soon after Russian warship Olenegorsky Gornyak was left badly damanged and towed back to port on Friday after a sea drone attack.
A giant fireball explosion seen from the shore was initially thought to have been an attack on Vladimir Putin’s £3 billion Crimean Bridge which also faced overnight drone assaults.
But it emerged that the strike last night was on the SIG oil and chemical tanker which regularly carries cargoes – allegedly including explosives – between Russia and Syria.
The voice of a SIG crew member seeking help by radio was overheard saying: ‘We cannot move by ourselves.
‘Without a tug. The engine room is completely flooded. The management don’t know what will be decided….’
Tugs went to assist the vessel and the crew, who were not evacuated, were given pumps. The vessel is currently being assessed for damage.
Vasyl Malyuk, head of Ukraine’s SBU security service, did not directly confirm the latest attack but said any incident with Russian ships or the Crimean bridge was ‘an absolutely logical and efficient step towards the enemy’.
‘Moreover, such special operations are conducted in the territorial waters of Ukraine and are completely legal,’ Malyuk said on the Telegram messaging app.
Russia’s Novorossiysk Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying there was no fuel spill from the SIG, as the ship had been carrying only technical ballast. Recovery work was underway with two tugboats nearby.
The crew on board reported significant damage and flooding in the engine room of the 463ft-long vessel following the strike
Pictured is the damage on board the SIG tanker after it was hit by the drone which saw the 11 crew members suffering abrasions from shattered glass
Rogov posted an audio clip on Telegram in which the SIG requested a tow. He also posted pictures of what he described as shattered fixtures and equipment inside the vessel.
‘The SIG tanker … received a hole in the engine room near the waterline on the starboard side, preliminarily as a result of a sea drone attack,’ Russia’s Federal Marine and River Transport agency said in a statement on Telegram.
The Russian-flagged SIG, built in St Petersburg, has been under sanctions since 2019 due to its role in supplying cargoes to Syria.
The Ukrainian defence ministry warned on July 21 that ships heading to Russian ports would be considered part of Putin’s war effort and were potential military targets.
A day earlier Russia had threatened Ukraine with a similar warning.
Earlier this week Russia reported that the Vasily Bykov and Sergey Kotov patrol ships had been targeted by Ukrainian kamikaze drones.
At the time the two vessels were escorting the Sig en route from Syria, it is believed.
‘Such an attack is intended not only to force Russia to return to the infamous grain deal, but also to partially jeopardise the logistical capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces in the Middle East,’ stated Rybar pro-war channel in Russia.
Footage shows a huge explosion from one of the vessels in the harbour after Vladimir Putin’s forces reportedly deployed two warships to counter the strikes on Thursday night
Pictured is the Russian landing ship Olenegorsky Gornyak (centre) docked in a port after it was damaged in a drone attack
The badly-holed Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship is now in dock in Novorossiysk.
Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, said the use of drones in the Black Sea, ‘will ensure freedom and security in the Black Sea for world trade’.
READ MORE: Ukraine accuses Russia of preparing to stage a ‘false flag’ attack on oil refinery in Belarus in order to blame Kyiv saboteurs and draw Minsk into war
The Security Service of Ukraine said the attack on the refinery would be carried out by military and intelligence forces sent by Moscow to Belarus disguised as Wagner mercenaries
He claimed ‘drones are changing the rules of the game and returning the water area to full-fledged external jurisdiction.
‘The presence of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea will be put to an end, and with it, the traditional Moscow blackmail,’ he said.
Elsewhere early on Friday morning, loud explosions could be heard as Ukraine staged a further nighttime attack on an oil depot in Feodosia, annexed Crimea.
Ship movements in the key port of Novorossiysk – which handles 2 per cent of the world’s oil supply and also exports grain – were temporarily halted amid the drone strikes and sound of gunfire.
Locals reported seeing ‘a bright flash over the sea and explosions’.
This was close to the facilities of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, a major international oil pipeline system that delivers oil from western Kazakhstan to Black Sea terminals at Novorossiysk.
Explosions were reported after midnight and at dawn.
The Russian defence ministry said its forces had repelled two drone strikes in Novorossiysk.
‘Two unmanned sea boats attempted to attack the Novorossiysk naval base,’ said the ministry.
‘During the repulse of the attack, unmanned boats were visually detected and destroyed by fire from the standard weapons of Russian ships guarding the outer raid of the naval base.’
Pro-war Russian channel Rybar said: ‘It is noteworthy that at the time of the raid and attempted strike on Novorossiysk, three reconnaissance UAVs of the US Air Force and NATO Air Force – RQ-4D Phoenix, two MQ-9A Reapers – and one R-8A aircraft were in the air in the southwest of the Black Sea.’
Mayor Andrei Kravchenko said yesterday: ‘Today military units have worked effectively to protect our hero city.
Footage shows the moment a maritime drone hits a Russian landing ship
The black-and-white footage shows the explosion from just a few feet away
‘Our servicemen are technically provided with everything necessary to perform their tasks.
‘All life support and logistics facilities are under reliable protection.’
In Crimea, just across the water from Novorossiysk, Russia’s Ministry of Defence said it thwarted another attack by Ukraine overnight on Thursday, taking down 13 drones.
Footage showed an explosion at or near an oil depot in Feodosia.
Pro-Russian sources said this was ‘air defences shooting down enemy drones in the Crimean town of Feodosia’, but there was no independent confirmation.
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 on 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.
The number of attacks in the Black 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.
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.
Footage appears to show the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship being towed in the Russian port and naval base of Novorossiysk
Horrified Russian sunbathers watch as a large ship in Novorossiysk appears to be towed towards the port
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, 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.
Ukrainian drone attacks on Crimea in July blew up an ammunition depot and damaged a strategic and symbolic bridge linking Russia’s mainland to the peninsula.
Kyiv has repeatedly said it plans to take back Crimea, which is a regular target for its forces.
On Sunday, Russian-installed authorities in Crimea said 25 Ukrainian drones were destroyed over the peninsula.
Kyiv says Russia has repeatedly attacked Odesa, a centuries-old city on the shores of the Black Sea and one of Ukraine’s main ports.
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