Russia is using mines seized back in 2014 during the occupation of Crimea as a new way of maritime robbery and an attempt to discredit Ukraine to international partners. Those mines found in the Black Sea after the full-scale invasion began were not on the Navy’s books as of early 2022.

Russian media reports that a Romanian military vessel was blown up in the Black Sea by a “Ukrainian” mine. “This is the first time since the beginning of the special operation that a military ship of a North Atlantic Alliance member country has suffered from Ukrainian mines in the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. Agitprop adds that all the mines in the Black Sea were chaotically planted by Ukrainians “in panic and terror at the beginning of the special operation.
According to Reuters, a Romanian minesweeper blew itself up on a drifting mine it was trying to defuse in the Black Sea on September 9. According to the Romanian Navy press office, the crew of the minesweeper Locotenent Dimitrie Nicolescu of 75 people were not injured by the explosion.

“As a result of the explosion there were no casualties or injuries, the 75 crew of the ship arrived safely in the military port of Constanta, there is no serious damage on board. The ship will be repaired at the shipyard in the next phase,” commented the Romanian Navy.

There is no confirmation that the mine, on which the Romanian trawler blew up, was left by the Ukrainian military. On the contrary, Ukraine together with other countries is working on deactivation of mines in the western part of the Black Sea. Thus, after the Russian invasion on February 24, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine destroyed 28 such mines in the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that the use of sea mines as uncontrolled drifting munitions is a way of maritime robbery by Russia. Exactly such drifting mines were identified March 26-28, 2022 off the coast of Turkey and Romania.

“According to the results of the identification, it was found that these are sea mines, which as of early 2022 were not on the books of the Ukrainian Naval Forces. These mines were seized by the Russian Armed Forces in 2014 during Russia’s military invasion and temporary occupation of the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol. Consequently, Russia, using sea mines from the military depots seized in 2014, is deliberately resorting to provocations and discrediting Ukraine before international partners,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported.
Earlier, British intelligence reported that the presence of mines in the Black Sea “is almost certainly linked to the activity of the Russian navy in the area and demonstrates how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine also affects civilian interests.”