UK warns Russia may expand attacks against civilian shipping in Black Sea

UK warns Russia may expand attacks against civilian shipping in Black Sea

Britain has information indicating Russia has laid additional sea mines in approaches to Ukrainian ports, says UK envoy to UN

By Betul Yuruk

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - The UK warned Tuesday that the Russian military may expand attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea after Moscow withdrew from a grain deal and began attacking Ukrainian grain ports.

''Our information indicates that the Russian military may expand their targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities further to include attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea,'' British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

Russia ramped up attacks on grain stores in Odesa, and across Ukraine, since its withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal that gave the world access to critical supplies of Ukrainian grain.

More than 60,000 tons of grain have been destroyed in the past week, according to Ukrainian officials.

The price of grain has risen 8% which will affect developing countries the most following Russia's ''sabotage'' of the deal, said Woodward.

''Our information also indicates that Russia has laid additional sea mines in the approaches to Ukrainian ports, and we agree with the US assessment that this is a coordinated effort to justify and lay blame on Ukraine for any attacks on civilian ships in the Black Sea,'' said Woodward.

She said the UN Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss Russia's ''escalatory attacks'' on Odessa and ''attempts to weaponize'' global food supplies.

The accord was signed in Istanbul in July 2022 by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the UN, creating a safe corridor through the Black Sea for exports from three Ukrainian ports halted since the war began in February of that year.

It helped rein in spiraling prices and ease a global food crisis by restoring the flow of wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products from Ukraine -- one of the largest grain exporters in the world.

Moscow last week refused to extend the agreement beyond July 17, saying parts related to its demands have “not been implemented so far,” referring to the removal of obstacles to its fertilizer exports, including the inclusion of the state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank in the SWIFT international payment system.


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