(QHA) -

Ships that were sunk in Crimean Donuzlav Lake in March are being lifted from the bottom.

The Russian Navy has sunk three of its own written-off ships off the Crimea's western coast having blocked an access to the sea to the ships of Southern naval base of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The Russian Navy's decommissioned Soviet-era anti-submarine warship, Ochakov, was towed to the straits that connect the Black Sea with a body of water known as Donuzlav Lake, where it was blown up along with two smaller Russian vessels.

The step came week before Crimean referendum, and the peninsula’s annexation by Russia.

Witnesses say the Ochakov is still in the bottom of the lake.

Lake also referred to as Donuzlav Bay is the deepest lake of Crimea (27 m) and biggest in Chornomorske Region (47 km²). In practice it's not a lake but a bay since 1961, when sandy split (200–400 m wide) separating it from the Black sea was dug with 200 m width channel.