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Military: Civilian vessel hits Russian mine in Black Sea, 2 sailors injured

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 28, 2023 12:08 PM 2 min read
A Panama-flagged civilian cargo vessel hits a Russian mine in the Black Sea on Dec. 28, 2023. (Ukraine's State Border Service/Facebook)
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Panama-flagged civilian cargo vessel hit a Russian mine in the Black Sea, leading to two sailors being injured, Ukraine's Southern Defense Forces reported on Dec. 28.

The news comes days after the Ukrainian military warned about an increased risk for civilians posed by drifting naval mines in the Black Sea due to lengthy storms.

Hundreds of mines have been spread throughout the Black Sea since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022. On several occasions, civilian ships or navy ships belonging to countries not party to the war struck sea mines.

The Panama-flagged ship hit the mine while heading to one of the Danube ports to get loaded with grain, the Southern Defense Forces said on Telegram.

"The ship lost speed and control, and a fire broke out on the upper deck. To avoid flooding, the captain anchored the ship aground."

Is Ukraine’s new Black Sea corridor working? Experts say it has potential
Perplexing reports earlier this week that Ukraine had suspended its temporary grain corridor in the Black Sea sparked confusion and concern. Kyiv-based Barva Invest consultancy reported on Oct. 26 that Ukraine had temporarily halted the use of its new trade route in the Black Sea due to the potenti…

The wounded crew members have received medical attention, and the ship is being delivered to the port, according to the Ukrainian military.

"The defense forces continue to ensure the safety of civilian shipping in conditions of dense mining of the sea by the enemy. Stormy weather often increases mine hazards," the Southern Defense Forces added.

"That is why the issue of demining the sea with the support of international partnership remains relevant."

Reuters reported on Dec. 16 that Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria planned to sign an agreement on the creation of a joint mine-clearing force.

For months, the three NATO countries have been leading talks on the issue of mines floating in the Black Sea as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

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