New details emerge of Ukrainian attack on Crimea
Those behind a major drone attack on the Russian naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol made active use of a UN-brokered Black Sea grain corridor, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement after studying the wreckage of the unmanned combat vehicles.
The ministry’s specialists retrieved the navigational modules of the drones destroyed by the Russian warships and naval aviation, the statement said, adding that the Canadian-made devices stored data on the vehicles’ path to their target.
Most of them were launched from the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, not far from the port city of Odessa, the Russian military said. “The naval drones were then moving within the security zone of the grain corridor before changing course and heading towards the Russian naval base in Sevastopol,” the statement said.
Navigational data from at least one naval drone shows that it was launched from a sea location within the grain corridor security zone, the ministry added. According to Russian specialists, it might have been launched from a civilian vessel chartered by Ukraine or its “western backers” to transport Ukrainian agricultural produce.
Saturday’s assault, which involved nine aerial and seven naval drones, targeted vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet docked in Sevastopol. It was repelled, with just one ship suffering minor damage, according to the ministry.
According to Moscow, the Russian ships that were targeted by the Ukrainian drones had been involved in providing security for the “grain corridor,” which was set up to allow exports of Ukrainian food products through the Black Sea as part of a deal negotiated in Istanbul between Moscow and Kiev with UN and Turkish mediation this summer.
The attack prompted Russia to indefinitely suspend its participation in the deal, a move that has sparked an angry reaction from the US. Russia blamed Kiev for the attack, which it claimed was “carried out under the supervision of British experts.”
Kiev has been reluctant to claim responsibility for the assault. Andrey Yermak, the head of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s office, took to Telegram to accuse Russia of “making up terrorist acts at its facilities.” On Sunday, the New York Times reported that it was Ukrainian forces that launched Saturday’s attack, citing an unnamed Ukrainian official.