Russia said on Friday that two unmanned Ukrainian naval drones had tried to stage an overnight attack on its Black Sea navy base at Novorossiysk in an incident which two sources told Reuters had seriously damaged a Russian warship.
According to the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which runs an oil terminal there, the civilian port, which manages 2% of the world’s oil supply and exports grain, temporarily paused all ship movement before resuming regular operations.
In a brief statement, the Russian defence ministry said the Ukrainian attack had been thwarted in the waters around the base and that the two sea drones had been sunk.
The ship had a crew of about 100 Russian personnel when it was hit by a sea drone carrying 450 kilogrammes of TNT, the source said without mentioning any casualties, Reuters reported.
It blamed the incident on Ukraine’s military forces but did not mention any damage or casualties.
Kyiv, which often does not comment on strikes on Russian land, did not immediately claim responsibility for the incident. Moscow often accuses Ukraine of any such instances.
Novorossiysk, a port city in Russia’s Krasnodar region, is near Russian-occupied Crimea on the Black Sea.
According to the defence ministry website, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has a naval facility there. According to the ministry, it was founded in 1994 and was one of the crucial outposts for border security and military transit before the Ukraine War.
The incident occurred amid a wave of drone strikes launched against Russian soil in recent months, including three drone attacks within the previous two weeks in the centre of the Russian capital.