Ukrainian sources, has stated that a Russian naval ship in the Black Sea was damaged in a drone attack conducted by the Ukrainian navy. The incident reportedly took place near the Russian port of Novorossiysk, a major hub for Russian exports.
Russia’s defense ministry claimed to have repelled the Ukrainian attack on its naval base using two sea drones but did not acknowledge any damage to its vessel. However, Ukrainian security service sources revealed that the ship, Olenegorsky Gornyak, was struck and suffered a serious breach. They stated that a sea drone carrying 450kg (992lb) of dynamite hit the ship.
Russia’s official report did not mention any damage resulting from the attack. Sea drones are unmanned vessels that operate either on or below the water’s surface.
A video provided to the BBC by a source with Ukraine’s security service appears to show the drone approaching a ship, believed to be the Olenegorsky Gornyak. The footage depicts the vessel coming close to the ship’s side before the feed abruptly cuts off, presumably due to the impact. An unverified video also shows the ship listing to one side.
The Olenegorsky Gornyak is a landing ship designed for launching amphibious forces close to shore for beach landings and efficiently unloading cargo at ports. Any damage to this vessel could disrupt Russia’s efforts to resupply its forces fighting in occupied southern Ukraine.
In response to the attack, the Novorossiysk port temporarily suspended ship movements, as stated by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which handles oil loading onto tankers at the port.
Research conducted by BBC Verify indicates that Ukraine has carried out at least ten attacks using sea drones, targeting military ships, Russia’s naval base in Sevastopol, and Novorossiysk harbor in a previous assault. Ukrainian defense sources also disclosed that sea drones were employed in an attack on the Kerch Bridge in Crimea in July.
Ukraine’s attempts to target the Novorossiysk port are not new, and the reasons behind their actions are apparent.
The port plays a crucial role in exporting approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, accounting for about 2% of the global supply. Additionally, Novorossiysk serves as a significant naval base for Moscow.
Recent weeks have witnessed an escalation in sea clashes following Russia’s decision to abandon a UN deal that allowed safe grain exports between Russia and Ukraine across the water. As a result, Ukrainian ports have faced attacks from Russian drones, prompting Kyiv to respond actively.
Interestingly, Ukraine appears more forthcoming in acknowledging its involvement in strikes using sea drones, in contrast to attacks deeper within Russian territory.