Britain warns Russia could potentially attack cargo ships in the Black Sea. Photo/Illustration
LONDON – The British government warned that Russia could target civilian cargo ships in the Black Sea by planting sea mines near Ukrainian ports and then blaming Ukraine.
London said last month that Russian forces targeted a civilian cargo ship in the region with “several missiles”, but they were intercepted by air defences.
Citing declassified intelligence data, the report said there was a risk of attacks on cargo ships passing through Ukraine’s “humanitarian corridor” to block Ukrainian grain exports.
“Russia’s targeting of civilian shipping in the Black Sea shows Putin’s callous disregard for the lives of civilians and the needs of the world’s most vulnerable groups,” said British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
“The world is watching – and we are seeing Russia’s cynical attempts to blame Ukraine for their attack,” he added as quoted by Al Arabiya, Thursday (5/10/2023).
Cleverly’s department said by releasing the assessment of the intelligence report, the UK was seeking to uncover Russian tactics to prevent such incidents from occurring.
Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain agreement last July.
Since then, Russian attacks have damaged 130 port infrastructure facilities and destroyed nearly 300,000 tonnes of grain – enough to feed more than a million people for a year, Britain said.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reiterated Britain’s support for Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky, urging hesitant Western allies to maintain arms supplies.
“If we give President Zelensky the tools, Ukraine will get the job done,” he said at the ruling Conservative party’s annual conference in Manchester, northwest England.