Illustration photo – Russian warships anchor in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
Moscow – The Russian warship Ivan Churs was attacked by unmanned vessels in the Black Sea near the Bosphorus this morning, the crew repulsed the strike, the Russian Defense Ministry said. At the same time, Moscow blamed the Ukrainian armed forces for the attack. According to The Guardian, the Ivan Churs is a reconnaissance ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, it protects the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipelines.
“Today at 5:30 a.m. the Ukrainian armed forces unsuccessfully attempted to attack the Ivan Churs ship of the Black Sea Fleet with three unmanned motor boats, which was carrying out tasks to ensure the safe operation of the Turkish Stream and Blue Stream gas pipelines in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Turkey,” the spokesman said, according to TASS of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov.
“All the enemy boats were destroyed by fire from the Russian ship's conventional weapons 140 kilometers northeast of the Bosphorus Strait,” Konashenkov further stated, adding that Ivan Churs continues to fulfill his duties.
Similar statements by individual parties to the conflict, which Russia unleashed last year with its invasion of Ukraine, cannot be directly independently verified.
The aforementioned gas pipelines transport Russian gas to Turkey, partly via the Black Sea. At the same time, Konashenkov recalled last year's explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, intended for the transport of Russian gas across the Baltic Sea to Germany. Moscow blames the West for their damage, which the United States or Britain deny. “Following the terrorist attack on Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 on September 26, 2022, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are taking measures to protect these facilities. And not in vain,” the spokesman said.
Russia's statement on the attack on its the ship is likely to increase tensions in the Black Sea, Reuters noted. Moscow last week agreed to extend an agreement allowing grain and agricultural products to be exported from Ukraine's Black Sea ports. At the same time, Russia has been complaining for a long time that the part of the agreement that provides for the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers is not being fulfilled. Kyiv said on Tuesday that one of the ports – Pivdenny – has stopped operating because Russia does not allow ships to enter it.
Last April, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the cruiser Moskva, sank in the Black Sea after a Ukrainian attack. Ukrainian officials said the ship was hit by Ukrainian Neptun anti-ship missiles. According to Moscow, the vessel sank in rough seas after an explosion and fire on board ammunition and during subsequent efforts to tow it to port.