In a recent incident that has further heightened tensions between Ukraine and Russia, a Russian tanker was bombed in the Black Sea near the Crimean peninsula. The attack involved Ukrainian drones carrying approximately 450 kg of TNT, marking a significant escalation in the ongoing 18-month conflict.
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, condemned the attack as a “terrorist act” on a civilian vessel in the Kerch Strait. She vowed that the perpetrators of this “barbaric action” would not go unpunished. Vladimir Rogov, a Russian-installed official in the occupied Ukrainian territory of Zaporizhzhia, reported that several crew members on the tanker were injured by broken glass.
Unofficially, a member of Ukraine’s Security Service confirmed that their agency was behind the drone attack on the vessel. The tanker was believed to be transporting fuel for Russian forces, making it a strategic target in the ongoing conflict.
In response to the tanker attack, Russia launched a multi-wave attack against Ukraine on the following night, deploying over 70 air-assault weapons to target Ukrainian positions. Kyiv’s Air Force reported that they successfully shot down 30 out of 40 cruise missiles and all 27 Iranian Shahed drones launched in the assault. However, there is currently no information available about the fate of the remaining ten missiles.
The Black Sea has recently become a crucial battleground in the war between Ukraine and Russia. In July, the Kremlin withdrew from a grain export deal, causing tensions to rise as it impacted Ukraine’s ability to transport millions of tonnes of grain through the waterway for sale in the global market. Since then, Russia has conducted multiple attacks on Ukrainian ports.
Former president and Deputy Chair of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, took to Telegram to suggest that Moscow would continue striking these targets in retaliation for the recent tanker attack. He expressed dissatisfaction with the extent of previous strikes and hinted at more significant actions to come.
As the conflict continues to escalate, international efforts to find a resolution are underway. A two-day summit in Saudi Arabia has gathered senior officials from approximately 40 countries to discuss key principles for ending the war between Ukraine and Russia. However, it is notable that Russia has not sent any representatives to the summit, raising concerns about their commitment to seeking a peaceful resolution.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking at the opening of the talks, stressed the importance of finding a peaceful resolution for the sake of millions of people in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world whose food security depends on implementing a peace formula.
However, tensions remain high, with Maria Zakharova dismissing the summit’s efforts without Moscow’s participation as “absurd.” The absence of Russian representatives has cast doubts on the effectiveness of the talks in resolving the conflict.
As the situation continues to unfold, the international community is closely monitoring developments in the Black Sea region, hoping for a de-escalation of hostilities and a pathway towards lasting peace. However, the latest attacks and the absence of Russian representation at the summit have created a challenging environment for finding a resolution to the conflict.