Britain has information indicating that "the Russian military may extend its attacks to civilian shipping in the Black Sea," said British ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward.
Britain has information indicating that “the Russian military may extend its attacks to civilian shipping in the Black Sea” said British ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward.
On Monday, Russia withdrew from a deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey that had allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea for the past year. Ukraine has made it clear that it wants to continue delivering grain by sea and has informed the United Nations shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), that it “decided to temporarily establish a recommended sea route.”
In response, the Russian Defense Ministry said that from Thursday it would consider all ships sailing to Ukraine as potentially carrying military cargo, and “the countries whose flags they sail will be considered parties to the Ukrainian conflict.”
The Russian Defense Ministry did not disclose what actions it might take. Russia also announced that the south-eastern and north-western parts of the international waters of the Black Sea “are temporarily unsafe for shipping.”
On Tuesday, the British ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, said that the UK has information indicating that “the Russian military may extend its attacks on Ukrainian grain plants to attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea”.
The ambassador specified that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shared this information with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their telephone conversation on Tuesday morning.
— Our information also indicates that Russia has placed additional naval mines on the approaches to Ukrainian ports. We agree with the US assessment that this is a coordinated effort to justify and blame Ukraine, Woodward told reporters.
The ambassador referred to a statement from the White House, which announced last Wednesday that it had information indicating that Russia had mined the approaches to Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea. “We believe this is a coordinated operation to justify any attacks on civilian ships in the Black Sea and blame those attacks on Ukraine” U.S. officials said at the time.
Russian troops have been conducting a series of attacks on Odessa and other Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea for a week.