UK mulling option of escorting Ukraine grain vessels from ports in Black Sea, breaking Russian blockade

24 May, 03:33 PM
The United Kingdom is reportedly already in talks with the United States (Photo:David B. Larter/defensenews.com)

The United Kingdom is reportedly already in talks with the United States (Photo:David B. Larter/defensenews.com)

The UK government is considering the option of deploying warships to the Black Sea to escort Ukrainian commercial vessels carrying grain, UK newspaper the Times reported on May 24, citing its own sources.

Currently, exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports are being blocked by the Russian Federation.

According to the media report, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has approved the idea of protecting Ukrainian commercial fleet with UK warships. She is now seeking the U.S. approval for this, the Times said.

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However, to deploy some of it fleet in the Black Sea, closer to the port city of Odesa, the UK will have to negotiate with Turkey, which closed the Bosphorus strait to all military vessels at the beginning of Russian invasion to Ukraine.

Under the Montreux Convention, an international legal code for regulating the sea straits, Turkey has the right to deny passage through the straits to warships if it deems it necessary.

Besides that, some negotiations with Russia might still be needed, as Russia’s Black Sea Military Fleet may be a major threat to any logistical operations in the region. There is a threat of accidental confrontations as well.

Earlier, the Lithuanian government came up with the idea of creating a logistical channel for exporting Ukrainian grain. Gabrielius Landsbergis, Lithuania’s foreign minister, proposed holding a marine military operation to break the Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports and the Ukrainian commercial fleet.

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