MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Mines, planted by the Ukrainian military in the Black Sea, were most likely scattered by a recent storm, and are now presenting a major threat to civilian ships, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Mikhail Popov has told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
"Waves were up to nine meters high [during the storm]. It was the most powerful storm in decades. It tore floating net booms and, most likely, scattered mines planted by the Ukrainian military. This is a major hazard for civilian vessels," he said.
The Russian security official added that the storm struck the Black Sea region as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba were discussing the issue of resuming civilian navigation in the Black Sea.
"The Americans and their Kiev-based puppets remain tight-lipped about the fact that their joint actions have turned the Black Sea into a very dangerous region for maritime navigation for years to come," Popov continued, adding that it will have a negative effect on the economy of all countries of the Black Sea basin.
The deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council added that his earlier warnings that Ukrainian naval mines will start to flow away after storms proved to be true. They have already been found near the shores of Romania and Bulgaria, and in close proximity of the Bosphorus Strait. "Weirdly enough, Ukrainian vessels have been their first victims: a pilot boat, the Orlik, and a floating crane that was on its way to lift this pilot boat from the seabed," he said.
After that, the number of incidents involving sea mines began to grow, including "the explosion of an unknown mine off the coast of Georgia’s Batumi" in February 2023. In July, a Russian warship detected a floating mine 180 km away from Bosphorus. A ship was damaged by a mine off the coast of Romania in September. In October, a Turkish ship hit a mine in the Danube River delta. In November, a Liberian-flagged vessel carrying Ukrainian grain from the Yuzhny port was also damaged by a mine.
The situation illustrates the need to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine, Popov continued.
"The risks in the Black Sea once again prove that there is no other alternative for Russia but to achieve the goals of its special military operation, which are to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine," he said.