The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine states that since the beginning of the large-scale aggressive war against Ukraine, the Russia Federation has been intensifying the illegal activities of its naval forces in the Black Sea.

Apart from capturing and destroying civilian ships, bombing the territory of Ukraine from the sea, Russia invented a new method of piracy, which is the use of sea mines as uncontrolled drifting ammunition. Such drifting mines were discovered off the coast of Turkey and Romania on 26-28 March 2022.

It was established in the course of the identification that the sea mines had not been registered with the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as of the beginning of 2022.

Those mines were seized by the Russian armed forces in 2014 during the military invasion and temporary occupation of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol. Thus, Russia deliberately resorts to provocations and discredits Ukraine in front of international partners

By doing so, the aggressor state seeks to conceal its illegal activities in the Black Sea, which run counter to the principles and norms of international maritime and humanitarian law, and seeks to evade responsibility for war crimes and piracy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasises that Russia’s deliberate use of drifting sea mines turns them into de facto indiscriminate weapons that threaten, above all, civilian shipping and human life at sea in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, the Kerch and the Black Sea straits.

Responsibility for the use of drifting mines, as well as for the unpredictable consequences, rests solely with the Russian Federation and its Navy.

Ukraine insists on bringing Russia to international responsibility for illegal actions in the Black Sea.

In compliance with its international obligations, Ukraine notified the International Maritime Organisation of Russia’s use of drifting mines in the Black Sea, including during an extraordinary session of the IMO Council and the Legal Committee, as well as through NAVTEX medium.

Natalia Tolub

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