Wednesday, 07 Dec 2022

Russia suspends Ukraine grain deal after attack on Sevastopol naval base

Russia suspends Ukraine grain deal after attack on Sevastopol naval base


Russia suspends Ukraine grain deal after attack on Sevastopol naval base

Russia has said it will pull out of a UN-brokered grain export deal after a dramatic attack by Ukrainian airborne and underwater drones on its Black Sea naval base of Sevastopol in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A spokesperson for the ministry initially said the Ivan Golubets minesweeper had suffered minor damage in the incident, but there was immediate speculation by Russian and Ukrainian sources that the flagship Admiral Makarov may also have been hit.

The UN-brokered deal had allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports without fear of merchant ships being targeted, while Russia was allowed to export food and fertiliser.

Andriy Tsaplienko, a Ukrainian journalist, posted a video later in the afternoon from a Ukranian drone targeting a Russian frigate at sea and other footage from the raid. They showed, he said, that the Admiral Makarov had been damaged along with at least two other ships that carry Kalibr cruise missiles.

Russian-occupied Crimea has been the target of several daring drone and special forces attacks in the past three months, but Ukraine has been cautious about taking public responsibility for attacks that it knows will particularly irritate the Kremlin.

Russia also said Britain had helped Ukraine carry out the attack, accusing a Royal Navy specialist unit based in Ochakiv, in the south of the country, of giving guidance. No evidence was offered to support the claim.

The defence ministry also accused the same unit of sabotaging two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September, although Russia is suspected of being the perpetrator.

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