A Russian chemical tanker has been targeted in a drone attack near the Kerch Strait, marking the second such strike in the span of 24 hours. The incident underscores Ukraine's increasing focus on naval warfare and its potential consequences.
The Russian tanker, known as SIG, sustained significant damage in the attack, with a hole reportedly appearing in its engine room near the waterline. The vessel, which had been placed under United States sanctions for its alleged involvement in aiding Russian forces in Syria, was left unable to operate independently. As a response, tugboats were dispatched to the scene to provide assistance.
According to Russia's marine agency, the tanker is presently anchored and undergoing evaluation for potential towing. The extent of the damage suffered by the vessel's machine room is described as substantial, though not catastrophic. Fortunately, no casualties have been reported thus far.
Russian authorities have strongly condemned the attack, branding it as a "terrorist act" that poses a threat to the lives of crew members and could result in a significant environmental catastrophe. Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, has affirmed Moscow's intention to retaliate against Ukraine for the alleged use of a sea drone in the attack.
Zakharova further criticized what she referred to as the "Kyiv regime's" adoption of new, aggressive tactics in the Black Sea waters. She expressed dismay over the lack of condemnation from Western nations and international organizations, emphasizing that such actions will not be allowed to pass without consequences.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev added fuel to the flames, suggesting that Moscow might respond with further strikes on Ukrainian ports as a countermeasure to Kyiv's recent attacks on Russian vessels in the Black Sea. He also warned of the potential for an ecological catastrophe should tensions escalate unchecked.