Russia may attack civilian ships in Black Sea and blame Ukraine, Britain warns
British intelligence says Russia may attack civilian shipping vessels traveling through the temporary humanitarian corridor Ukraine established in the Black Sea after Moscow failed to renew their Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement. File Photo by Gokhan Mert/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 5 (UPI) — British intelligence is warning that Russia may attack civilian shipping vessels in the Black Sea and then lay blame on Ukraine.
The British government on Wednesday declassified information that indicates Russia may use sea mines to target civilian shipping vessels in the Black Sea to continue its covert attacks on global food supplies.
The Kremlin launched its invasion of Kyiv on Feb. 24, 2022, threatening the delivery of grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine, an important global supplier of many agricultural products.
In July 2022, the United Nations-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed to allow for commercial food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports, but in July, Moscow let it expire, which forced Kyiv in August to establish its own temporary humanitarian corridor from Odessa port.
On Wednesday, declassified British intelligence states that Russia is seeking to target civilian shipping vessels traveling through Ukraine’s humanitarian corridor in an effort to prevent the export of Kyiv grain and place further pressure on its economy.
The British intelligence added that Russia “almost certainly” would want to avoid openly sinking the ships and plans to blame Ukraine for any attacks on civilian ships in the Black Sea.
“The world is watching — and we see right through Russia’s cynical attempts to lay blame on Ukraine for their attacks,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly of Britain said in a statement. “We and our allies stand united against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his attempts to harm Ukraine and thus harm the rest of the world.”
British intelligence said Wednesday it was declassifying and releasing the information to “expose” Russia’s plans.
To counter these efforts, Britain said it was working with Ukraine and other allies to improve the safety of shipping. London said it has also put intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in place to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea to help attribute further Russian attacks.
Russia is accused by Britain of damaging 130 port infrastructure facilities and nearly 300,000 tons of grain since it pulled out of the deal.