Putin warns of Ukrainian cargo ships as potential military targets

Russian President Vladimir Putin.  AFP/File
Russian President Vladimir Putin. AFP/File

A senior White House official revealed that Russia is considering a troubling tactic of attacking civilian shipping on the Black Sea and then falsely blaming Ukrainian forces for the attacks.

National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge insisted that the information was based on recently made public intelligence. The worrying development comes in the wake of a missile and drone attack by Russia on the port city of Odessa, which has caused widespread destruction, including the loss of 60,000 tonnes of grain meant for export. In addition, Russia’s decision to pull out of an international agreement allowing safe passage for large-scale Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea has raised concerns about global food supplies.

The White House official cited a video released by Russia in which its military is reportedly locating and destroying a “suspected Ukrainian sea mine”. However, Hodge believes it is part of a coordinated effort to justify possible attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea, with Russia attempting to shift blame to Ukraine.

The new threat comes after Moscow announced that all ships visiting Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea would be considered potential carriers of military cargo and that their flag states would be considered involved in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of the Kiev regime. The move has raised significant fears over the security of shipping routes to Ukraine’s ports and the potential consequences on international trade and food security.

In response to these tensions, Ukraine has established a temporary shipping route through Romania to facilitate unblocking international shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately targeting grain export infrastructure in Odessa, jeopardizing both the country’s economy and the well-being of vulnerable countries dependent on Ukrainian grain. As Ukraine’s conflict with Russia continues, the US and EU have pledged additional military aid to support the country’s counter-offensive efforts.

The situation remains highly volatile with no immediate response from Russia on US claims about sea mines and possible attacks on civilian ships. The international community is closely following the developments and looking for ways to reduce tensions in the region. While Ukraine remains firm in its determination to continue grain exports, the uncertainties and risks posed by Russia’s threats remain looming large.

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