Turkey deactivates mine after Russia warns of strays from Ukraine ports
Turkey's military on Saturday deactivated a mine that drifted in from the Black Sea, causing a loud explosion north of Istanbul, Sabah newspaper reported, days after a warning from Moscow that several of them had washed away from Ukrainian ports.
Discovered by fishermen in the upper Bosphorus strait, the object was described by Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as being an old type. Akar said he had been in touch with officials both Russia and Ukraine on the matter.
The incident arrives in the fourth week of the war between Russia and Ukraine, countries which Turkey maintains good relations and shares a maritime border with.
"The mine, determined to be an old type, was neutralized by our team...and naval forces continue their vigilant work," Sabah cited Akar as saying.
Several mines had drifted out to sea after breaking off from cables near Ukrainian ports, Russia's main intelligence agency said on Monday, Reuters reported. Ukraine dismissed the statement as disinformation and an attempt to close off parts of the sea.
The Bosporus, a key trade channel connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, was closed for a few hours due to the suspected mine risk on Saturday, the Directorate of Coastal Safety told DPA news agency over the phone.
A major shipping artery for grain, oil and oil products, the Black Sea is connected to the Marmara and then Mediterranean seas through the Bosphorus that runs through Turkey's largest city of Istanbul and then the Dardanelles located further southwest.