Russian invasion in Ukraine: a single day without criminality

Russian navy ordered to lay mines at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, says US. Intelligence claims operation is part of Russia’s blockade of grain exports, which threatens to trigger global famine.

The Russian navy has been given orders to lay mines at the ports of Odesa and Ochakiv, and has already mined the Dnieper River, as part of a blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, according to newly declassified US intelligence.

US officials also released satellite images showing the damage inflicted by Russian missile strikes earlier this month on Ukraine’s second biggest grain terminal at nearby Mykolaiv, at a time when the interruption of grain exports threatens to trigger a global famine. Sunflower oil storage tanks at Mykolaiv came under attack on Wednesday.

Russia has denied laying mines around the Black Sea ports, and has turned around the allegations on Kyiv, claiming instead the Ukrainians have mined their own ports. The US says its intelligence points to a concerted Russian strategy to cut off the stretch of the coast still under Ukrainian control. “The United States has information that the Black Sea fleet is under orders to effectively blockade the Ukrainian ports of Odesa and Ochakiv,” a US official said.

“We can confirm that despite Russia’s public claims that it is not mining the north-western Black Sea, Russia actually is deploying mines in the Black Sea near Ochakiv. We also have indication that Russian forces previously mined the Dnieper River.”

“The impact of Russia’s actions, which have caused a cessation of maritime trade in the northern third of the Black Sea and made the region unsafe for navigation, cannot be understated, as Ukraine’s seaborne exports are vital to global food security,” the official said, pointing out that Ukraine supplied a 10th of global wheat exports and about 95% of those exports left the country through the Black Sea ports.

Alternative land routes are being examined, while the UK has offered technical expertise to Turkey, which has offered to escort cargo ships through the Black Sea. But Ankara said it had not been able to fix a date for a meeting with Russian officials to discuss the proposed grain convoys.

The US also declassified satellite images on Thursday showing the scale of damage inflicted in a 4 June Russian attack on the Nika-Tera grain terminal in Mykolaiv, the second biggest in Ukraine.

“The image makes clear that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to the destruction of three of the site’s grain silos as well as the conveyor system that loads grain on to vessels,” the US official said. “Because of Russia’s attack, the export capacity of the grain terminal has been reduced by at least one-third.” Smoke and flames rise after a military strike on a compound of Sievierodonetsk’s Azot chemical plant Fighting entering ‘fearsome climax’ in key regions, says Ukraine

Video footage released on Thursday also showed serious damage to at least two storage tanks for sunflower oil at a terminal in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Mykolaiv, caused by a Russian missile strike on Wednesday.

From an energy crunch to a food crisis, Russia’s war with Ukraine is continuing to cause havoc around the globe, with their latest blockade stopping the world’s fourth largest grain exporter from getting its produce to market. The European Union has slammed Russia as the global food crisis worsens. The blockade of grains has sent food prices soaring globally.

The Kremlin has formally denied trying to trigger a global famine, but earlier this week Margarita Simonyan, the head of the Russian propaganda outlet RT, suggested that was the strategy.

“The famine will start now and they will lift the sanctions and be friends with us, because they will realize that it’s impossible not to be friends with us,” Simonyan told the St Petersburg Economic Forum.

The comment of spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Oleg Nikolenko on Russia’s insinuations on the root causes of the global food crisis says Russia does not stop trying to parasitize on global issues. Recently, the Russian Foreign Ministry manipulated the publication of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to refute Russia’s role in creating a global food crisis. They say that according to the FAO, following the results of the 2021/2022 agricultural year the volume of grain production in the world is expected to reach 2.8 billion tons, which exceeds the same indicator of the previous season. Of course, Russia is not to blame for the blockade of grain or rising prices. According to Russian diplomats, the West’s systematic “mistakes” in agricultural policy planning and “illegitimate” sanctions are to blame.

This approach vividly illustrates the tactics of falsifying the facts. The Russian devil is in the details. First, world grain production is indeed growing, but so is consumption. In fact, consumption is growing 1.3 times faster than production. Second, grain trade is falling, not rising. According to the UN, in the 2020/2021 season, trade turnover amounted to 479.3 million tons, and in 2021/2022 – already 475.4 million tons. Third, and most important, a significant portion of Ukrainian grain harvested in 2021/2022 is currently unavailable to consumers due to the Russian army’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. Moreover, despite high production volumes, some countries are currently restricting grain exports to minimize the devastating effects of Russian aggression and ensure their food security. This negative trend will only deepen. FAO forecasts a further decline in production, consumption, stocks and trade in grain.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has already noted, the current food crisis in the world is an example of how Moscow is using the global problem to promote its aggressive political interests. In fact, Russia has deliberately launched a survival game in the countries of the most vulnerable regions of the world in order to bargain for geopolitical advantages at high stakes.We keep repeating to our partners: by stopping Russia in Ukraine, they will first of all protect the welfare of their citizens.

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