A Ukrainian naval drone hit a Russian oil tanker early Saturday off the occupied Crimean Peninsula, the second Ukrainian sea drone attack to strike Russian ships in the Black Sea in two days, Ukrainian and Russian officials said.

The engine room of the tanker was damaged, but the ship remained afloat, there was no oil spillage and no crew members were injured, Russia’s Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport said on its Telegram channel. Vasyl Malyuk, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, said Ukraine was responsible for the attack and that Kyiv’s forces would continue to attack any ship assisting in the Russian war effort.

The tanker was near the Kerch Strait Bridge, a vital connection for Russia to the Crimean Peninsula, which has been under Russian occupation since 2014. Mr. Malyuk said Ukraine would continue attacking the bridge until Russian forces completely withdraw from Ukrainian lands.

Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the bridge itself in July, also with sea drones.

The attack Saturday was a continuation of Ukraine’s challenge to Moscow’s control of the Black Sea. A day earlier, the country’s forces had demonstrated the expanding reach of their uncrewed vessels by hitting a Russian naval ship near the Russian port of Novorossiysk, more than 400 miles by sea from the nearest Ukraine-held shores.

The Russian agency said the vessel damaged on Saturday was the oil and chemical tanker Sig, and that it had been approaching the Kerch Strait Bridge from the south with a crew of 11. Rybar, a popular Russian pro-war blog, said the tanker was returning from delivering oil to Syria.

On Friday morning near Novorossiysk, a Russian shipping and naval hub on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea, a naval drone appeared to slam into a Ropucha-class landing ship that was later seen listing to its port side in photos and videos verified by The New York Times.

Three Ukrainian officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military matters, said the attack in Novorossiysk had been carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Navy.


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By vito988

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