Russia claimed on Saturday that it foiled an attack on merchant ships in the southwestern Black Sea, blaming the strike on Ukraine.
The country’s Defence Ministry said the attack targeted “civilian transport ships” on Friday night with sea drones, or unmanned semi-submersible vehicles, according to maritime security firm Ambrey Analytics and a report by Reuters.
“The Russian Navy’s patrol ships and aircraft, which were on a mission in that area, were engaged to repel this attack,” the ministry said, according to Ambrey.
“One unmanned surface vehicle was destroyed with artillery fire. The remaining were jammed with electronic warfare.”
Reuters reported that there was no damage to the Russian ships.
Both sides had threatened ships potentially carrying military cargoes to each other’s ports in July, but Ambrey said the Ukrainian strike was “likely highly targeted” because several vessels transiting the area were known to be supplying Russian armed forces and were subject to US sanctions.
“Ambrey assessed the risk to the wider pool of merchant vessels transiting to/from Russian ports was unlikely to have changed as a result of this attack,” the firm said.
“Merchant vessels transiting the Black Sea are advised to avoid transiting close to convoys that are withholding [automatic information system] transmissions and to keep distance from certain identified vessels.”
Ukraine has been scoring naval victories in its battle with Moscow, which invaded the neighbouring country in February 2022.
Last week, Kyiv’s military said it sank the Russian-guided missile ship Ivanovets off the coast of Crimea.