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Ukraine's Naval Forces officially declared on Aug. 4 the waters of Anapa, Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Sochi, and Taman, located in the Russian-controlled part of the Black Sea, as a "war risk" area.
This announcement follows a series of explosions in the Black Sea over the past few days, including an attack on the Russian landing vessel Olenegorskiy Gornyak, which was reportedly hit by a surface drone on Aug. 4.
On Aug. 4, CNN and several Ukrainian media outlets cited unnamed sources in Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), saying the operation was a joint endeavor between the SBU and the Ukrainian Navy.
Earlier in the day, the U.K. Defense Ministry said that the 3,600 tonnes and 113 meter-long Olenegorskiy Gornyak "almost certainly suffered serious damage after being struck near the Black Sea Fleet’s Novorossiysk base," adding that it is “the largest Russian naval vessel seriously damaged or destroyed since the sinking of the cruiser Moskva" in April last year.
"This is a significant blow to the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet, which previously relocated most of its units to Novorossiysk due to the high threat to Sevastopol," the ministry said.
In the early hours on Aug. 5, explosions were also reported near the Crimean Bridge. The Moscow Times reported via its Telegram channel that the naval drone attack on the Kerch Strait could have potentially damaged the Russian SIG chemical tanker.
Later in the day, 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.