Lengthy storms in the Black Sea have created an increased risk of naval mines drifting towards places that may endanger civilians, Nataliia Humeniuk, spokesperson of Ukraine's Southern Operational Command, said on national television on Dec. 19, Ukrinform reported.
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.
Sea mines have also been washed onto Ukraine's shores during storms, which Humeniuk said has happened several times in Mykolaiv and Odesa oblasts in recent days.
Civilians have been killed and injured by mines that came close to Ukraine's Black Sea beaches.
Reuters reported on Dec. 16 that Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria plan 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.