(CNN) — A maritime drone attacked one of Russia’s largest oil tankers in the latest salvo of a Ukrainian military campaign using drones to attack Russian targets far by air and by sea.The Russian-flagged Sig was shot down by a drone carrying 450kg of TNT shortly before midnight, according to a source in the Ukrainian Security Service. The impact left a hole in the boat’s engine room on the starboard waterline, forcing 11 crew members to fight water ingress, Russian authorities said. The flood finally stopped.
Russia’s Federal Maritime and River Transport Agency said no casualties were reported and Sig was not carrying oil when the drone crashed into the vessel. However, Ukrainian officials said some of the crew were injured and the tanker was carrying fuel for the Russian military.
CNN was unable to independently verify the claims.
The attack on the SIG comes just hours after Ukrainian maritime drones attacked a major naval base in Novorossiysk, a coastal city on the Black Sea that hosts Russia’s largest port by volume of cargo handled. A Russian landing craft was hit, causing it to list heavily and end up very low in the water.
Ukraine has also stepped up its drone attacks in recent weeks, hitting targets inside Russia, including Moscow.
The attack on the tanker was carried out as part of a joint operation with the Navy, a source in the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told CNN.
Ukraine promises more attacks on Russian ships and Crimean bridge
Ukraine has indicated that it intends to continue attacks with maritime drones, after two attacks with these types of weapons in 24 hours.
The head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasily Malyuk, said on Saturday that any explosion that occurs on Russian ships or on the Crimean bridge is “an absolutely logical and effective step. in the territorial waters of Ukraine and are completely legal.”
Malyuk said that if the Russians want such explosions to stop, “they have only one option to do so: to leave Ukrainian territorial waters and our land.”
Significance of Crimea
Two naval attacks on Friday were carried out near the Kerch Strait, which connects the Crimean peninsula with the Russian mainland.
After the illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014, the Kremlin spent about $3.7 billion to physically and symbolically connect Crimea to Russia with a bridge. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally led a convoy up the 19-kilometer flyover, the longest in Europe, to celebrate its opening in 2018.
The Kerch Bridge has been attacked several times since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. An explosion in October killed three people and collapsed part of the highway, and last month Ukrainian forces attacked the bridge.
However, Friday’s attack proved to be one of the largest to date. In addition to attacks on the SIG and the naval base, on Friday morning Ukrainian drones attacked an oil storage facility in Feodosiya, a city on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula. In total, ten drones were shot down over Crimea, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Ukrainian authorities have vowed to continue attacks on the bridge and ships sailing in Ukrainian territorial waters, even if they are controlled by Russia.
The State Hydrological Service of Ukraine also warned ships not to use several Russian ports due to the war.
Ukrainian agencies, especially the Security Service, after several months of reluctance, actively announced the use of these drones in the Black Sea.
Its use both boosts morale and provides an advantage on the battlefield, allowing Kyiv to use new domestic technologies at sea while its forces fight to shore up ground counteroffensives.