A flurry of armed drone aircraft and boats attacked Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Ukraine carried out the attack, which involved nine aerial drones and seven unmanned boats. The ministry said both military and civilian vessels were targeted and that one Russian ship was damaged.
Moscow accused British “specialists” of being involved in the attack by training Ukrainian forces. “The preparation of this terrorist act and the training of military personnel of 73rd Marine Special Operations Center were carried out under supervision of British specialists,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
London has denied being involved in the incident, although the UK has been training Ukrainian forces and reportedly has a special operations presence on the ground in Ukraine.
Russia said on Sunday that it recovered and analyzed the wreckage of the drones that were used to attack the Black Sea Fleet. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the drones were equipped with navigation equipment that was made in Canada.
Like most recent attacks on Crimea, Ukraine has not taken credit for the operation in Sevastopol, but there’s little doubt Kyiv was responsible. The US and its allies have said they support Ukrainian attacks on Crimea, which Russia has controlled since 2014.
Moscow has demonstrated its willingness to escalate in response to attacks on Crimea. After a truck bombing on the Kerch Bridge, which connects the Crimean peninsula to the Russian mainland, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the most extensive missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure that have been seen in the war.
Russia said that the drones that attacked Sevastopol used the corridor established by the grain deal that has unlocked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and facilitated grain exports. In response to the attack, Russia pulled out of the Turkish and UN-brokered agreement.