A cyclone battered southern Ukraine on Monday signaling the start of a another winter in the war.
The fierce winds may have unmoored maritime mines in the Black Sea, according to reports.
Loose naval mines pose significant navigational risks for both sides.
A fierce winter storm walloped southern Ukraine on Monday inhibiting military operations on both sides and could have worsened already-heightened navigational dangers in the Black Sea.
Temperatures dipped below freezing this week across wide swaths of Russian-occupied Ukraine as a powerful cyclone battered the region wrecking Russian defenses along the Crimean coast and signaling the start of another winter in the 21-month war.
Ukrainian weather officials said this week's storm was one of the worst in decades, according to The New York Times, and hundreds of thousands of civilians were left without power in the frigid temperatures.
Giant waves and gusty winds threatened to unmoor maritime mines in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, the outlet reported — posing an even greater risk for those who navigate the perilous shipping lanes.
The Institute for the Study of War on Monday evening cited a prominent Russian military blogger who warned that loose mines drifting through the Black Sea could pose dangers to both Russian and Ukrainian naval forces as the two countries continue to wage maritime war via ship and drone.
Sea mines in the region have previously come loose in less violent storms. Earlier this year, Ukrainian military officials warned that naval mines near the seaport hub of Odesa could be drifting along the coast and washing ashore after a February storm.
Both Ukraine and Russia have accused the other of placing Soviet mines along Ukraine's coast, Reuters reported. The mines are typically anchored but can come unmoored by powerful waves and be carried by the current.
The storm this week blanketed parts of Russian-occupied Crimea and Kherson with heavy snow as the region suffered widespread infrastructural damage, disrupting — but not halting — military operations along the frontlines.
Both Russia and Ukraine are beefing up their air defenses in preparation for the coming cold.
Read the original article on Business Insider