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British intelligence services have raised concerns over Russia potentially targeting civilian grain-carrying ships in the Black Sea. This warning comes amid reports of Ukraine’s growing strength in the region, particularly after executing drone strikes damaging Russian vessels.
An anonymous Ukrainian official suggested Russia’s strategy of laying mines in the waters is driven by their apprehension of approaching the shore, fearing Ukrainian missile attacks. The British Foreign Office highlighted the potential economic motive, suggesting that Russia’s activities could be attempts to “deter the export of Ukrainian grain.” Andrii Chernyak, representing Ukraine’s military intelligence, confirmed observations of Russian activities around Ukrainian ports.
Historically, Ukraine has been a major global grain supplier. Despite initial assurances from Russia not to target civilian grain ships, disruptions in grain exports have intensified over time. The heightened threat to their navy has prompted Ukraine to establish a “humanitarian corridor,” though concerns arise that this may become Russia’s next target.
Despite these allegations, Russia continues to deny targeting civilian vessels, and there has been no official response from the Russian Defense Ministry regarding the British claims.
This comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky actively engages with European leaders to discuss global food security and safeguard navigation freedom.