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Drifting Naval Mine Damages Resort Complex Near Odesa

Odesa mine damage
A view from the wreckage of a waterfront resort, Sychavka (Operational Command South)

Published Mar 26, 2023 11:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a recent storm, a naval mine exploded on the shore near Odesa, damaging a small resort, according to Ukraine's Operational Command South. 

The mine drifted ashore in the village of Sychavka, according to the Odessa Journal, and damaged the resort's dock and its buildings. "Only due to restrictions on access to the facility, there were no people there and no one was injured," said Operational Command South in a statement. 

Another drifting mine was reportedly detected and destroyed without causing harm. 

It is the latest in a series of drifting sea mine incidents caused by a combination of rough winter weather and large-scale employment of bottom-fixed mines in the northwestern Black Sea. Both Ukraine and Russia have deployed tethered contact mines in the region, and these explosive devices can go adrift if they break their moorings. 

To date, coastal states have destroyed more than 40 drifting sea mines since the beginning of the Russian invasion, primarily in the western Black Sea off Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Turkey. 

At least one drifting mine made its way as far east as the coast of Georgia, hundreds of miles from the conflict zone. In February, a contact mine floated into the surf zone on the waterfront in Batumi and exploded in front of beachgoers. No injuries or material damage were reported. 

The exact source of the drifting munitions is difficult to determine, as both Ukraine and Russia possess the same Soviet-made YaM contact mine. Further complicating attribution, analysts say that Russia may be in possession of some of the Ukrainian Navy's stock of mines, since Russian forces captured the Ukrainian-controlled naval base at Sevastopol in 2014.