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Ukrainian Drone Carrying 450 Kg of TNT Slams Into Russian Oil Tanker

  • A Ukrainian maritime drone struck a Russian oil tanker on Saturday.
  • Russian state media reported that the attack damaged the vessel’s engine room.
  • It came a day after another naval drone attack on a Russian warship.

For the second time in less than 24 hours, Ukraine has attacked a Russian vessel using one of its own unique crowdfunded maritime drones.

Russian state media reported Saturday that an oil tanker was attacked in the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, citing a source who said the ship suffered damage to its engine room. The strike came after another drone strike on Friday badly damaged a Russian warship in the Russian port city of Novorossiysk.

A Russian official also claimed Saturday that a Ukrainian drone was spotted and subsequently destroyed in the waters outside Sevastopol, the Crimean port city home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The attacks come after Russia pulled out of a deal ensuring the safe passage of grain in the Black Sea, a move that was followed by strikes on Ukrainian grain supplies in Odesa.

Ukraine’s defense ministry did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. But a source in Ukraine’s security services told the BBC that Saturday’s attack on the oil tanker was carried out by the country’s navy — and that, as with the attack a day earlier, the drone was packing 450 kilograms of TNT.

The explosion caused by the drone ramming into the ship was visible in Russian-occupied Crimea, according to a local official, the Financial Times reported.

Stephen Wright, an expert on drone technology, told Insider on Friday that 450 kg of TNT is a “huge amount” of firepower, far exceeding the explosive capacity of the aerial drones that have been pestering the Russian capital.

“To put it in context, estimates for the explosives being carried by the airborne strikes on Moscow are in the 5-10kg range,” Wright said. He noted that Ukraine was likely using a recently unveiled model of naval drone that Ukraine claims can strike targets 500 miles away.

Last year, Ukraine launched a crowdfunding campaign with the stated goal of building “the world’s first naval fleet of drones,” with those who gave at least $250,000 offered the chance to name one.

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