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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) chief Vasyl Maliuk made a statement on the recent surface drone attacks on Russian ships, effectively admitting that Ukraine was behind the attacks.
He said such attacks are "absolutely logical" and "completely legal."
"Any (explosions) that happen to the Russian ships or the Crimean Bridge is an absolutely logical and effective step in relation to the enemy," Maliuk said, as quoted by the SBU Telegram channel.
"Moreover, such special operations are conducted in the territorial waters of Ukraine and are completely legal," he said.
According to Maliuk, there is only one option for such attacks to stop: Russia has to leave the territorial waters of Ukraine and Ukrainian land.
"And the sooner they do it, the better it will be for them," the official said.
His comment comes after explosions were reported near the Crimean Bridge in the early hours of Aug. 5.
Local Russian-appointed officials claimed explosions were heard in Kerch, occupied Crimea, and subsequently announced a threat of attack on the Crimean Bridge. The Moscow Times Telegram channel later reported that the naval drone attack on the Kerch Strait could have potentially damaged the Russian "SIG" chemical tanker.
The SIG tanker delivered aviation fuel from Crimea to Syria, for which the United States added it to the sanctions list in 2019.
Earlier on Aug. 4, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that 13 Ukrainian drones were shot down in Crimea and that two unmanned surface drones were destroyed during an attack on a naval port in Russia's Novorossiysk.
Later that day, unnamed sources in the SBU, cited by CNN and several Ukrainian media outlets, said that a Russian landing ship stationed in the naval port of Novorossiysk was damaged by one of the surface drones.
The operation was a joint endeavor between the SBU and the Ukrainian Navy, according to the unnamed sources.
While Kyiv does not generally claim responsibility for explosions reported on the occupied peninsula, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in late July that Ukraine will continue to attack targets in Crimea to reduce Russia's fighting capacity and "help save the lives of Ukrainians."