Russian assertions that grain deal is to blame for Sevastopol attack are false, UN says
Cargo ship waiting for inspection for entry into the Bosphorus Strait, 31 October 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Calsikan)
There were no ships in the Black Sea “grain corridor” when the attack on Sevastopol Bay took place, UN Deputy Secretary General Martin Griffiths said during the UN Security Council meeting on Oct. 31.
“On the night of Oct. 29, when the alleged attack took place, there was not a single ship in the corridor, and not a single ship reported the incident over the weekend,” said Griffiths.
The official emphasized that the corridor as such is “just lines on a chart” and when there are no vessels involved in the export of grain there, it has no special status and isn’t a “cover” or “protection” for any military action.
According to Griffiths, Russia’s statements that it isn’t withdrawing from the grain agreement altogether, but only “temporarily suspending it,” are very encouraging, and that “obligations remain in force even during the suspension.”
Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, told Russian TV channel Dozhd that it’s absurd to suggest that convoys of civilian grain ships could have anything to do with an attack on Russia’s naval base in occupied Crimea, hundreds of kilometers away.
He also said that Ukraine has nothing to do with the explosions in occupied Sevastopol and doesn’t use naval drones of any kind.
The Russian government blamed an alleged drone attack on its naval base for disrupting the grain export agreement, falsely accusing Ukraine and the UK for targeting civilian vessels “involved in ensuring the security of the grain corridor.”
Russia claimed that the drones that allegedly attacked the ships were moving along the “grain corridor” and could have been launched from a “civilian vessel” involved in the export of agricultural products.
Open-source intelligence community GeoConfirmed established that drones hit at least three ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol – including the flagship, Admiral Makarov. There is no official confirmation that any Russian ships were sunk.
At the same time, Kyiv called Moscow’s exit from the grain deal “food blackmail,” and said that Russia was withdrawing from the agreement under a false pretext.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasily Bodnar said that the grain deal continues to work, and the vessels are being inspected by mediators – Turkey and the UN. On Oct. 31, 12 ships with 354.5 thousand tons of agricultural products left from Odesa and nearby Ukrainian ports.
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