On Wednesday, Ukraine has reported accused Russian military of planting mines in the Black Sea. It also mentioned that some of the munitions had to be defused off Romania and Turkey as unexplained risks to merchant shipping increased.
The Black Sea is a critical shipping channel for grains, oil, and all sorts of related products. Its waters have been shared by Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, and also Russia.
Russian military acquired control of the waterways when it launched an invasion on Ukraine, in what Moscow described as a “special operation”. In recent times, Romanian and Turkish military diving teams have reportedly been involved in defusing stray mines around the waters of their country.
The foreign ministry of Ukraine added that Russia had been using naval mines as uncontrolled drifting ammunition.
Earlier in the month, the Russian main intelligence agency had accused Ukraine of laying mines to ensure the protection of ports. It added that several hundreds of the explosives had broken from the cables and ended up drifting away. Kyiv had dismissed the account as misinformation.
A foreign ministry official from Ukraine has mentioned that the sea mines were R-421-75, which were not registered with or even used by Ukraine’s navy.
The official mentioned that previously, almost 372 units of mines of such origin had been stored at Ukraine’s 174th armament base in Sevastopol. They had been seized by the Russian military when the latter annexed Crimea in 2014, reportedly a move that was not recognized internationally.
The marine insurance industry in London has expanded the area of waters it considers to be high risk to the region and as a result, the insurance costs have also risen.
Projectiles had hit five merchant vessels. One of those sunk off the coast of Ukraine, killing two seafarers. Vessels that navigate the Black Sea must keep an eye out for mines and pay attention to all local navigation warnings per London P& I Club, a shipping insurer.