A Russian tanker was reportedly struck by a Ukrainian ‘sea drone’ just a few nautical miles away from the Crimean Bridge. It comes as reports last night suggested a number of explosions were heard near the bridge.
Now the Russian state-run news agency Tass says a tanker with the nation’s flag was attacked by Ukraine as it sailed the Black Sea. Tass says the engine room was damaged but none of the 11 crew injured.
A number of Russian military bloggers claim it is the nation’s Sig oil tanker, reports BBC News. A number of residents in nearby villages reported hearing and seeing explosions last night.
And traffic reports suggested the bridge itself was closed with the lights switched off.
Tass quotes an official from Russia’s Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) who says two tugs had already arrived at the scene of the attack – just to the south of the Kerch Strait.
They said: “The engine room was damaged. Not much, but it was damaged.”
The MRCC did not provide details on who the tanker belonged to. The Kerch Strait connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating Crimea – Ukraine’s peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014 – and Russia’s Taman peninsula.
Should Ukraine confirm the attack, it would be the latest in a series of assaults in the area. Earlier a Russian naval ship was hit by a Ukraine by a naval strike off the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
Footage reportedly emerged showing a drone strike hitting the Olenegorsky Gornyak large landing ship. Russia said it fended off an attack on its naval base in Novorossiysk but would not confirm any damage, says the BBC.
Novorossiysk is a major export port for Russia. There have though been clashes in the area in recent weeks after Russia ditched its deal with the EU to allow grain to be exported across the Black Sea.