Russia may use sea mines to attack civilian ships in Black Sea, UK warns
Russia could use sea mines to target civilian ships in the Black Sea, the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office warned late Wednesday.
The U.K. said newly declassified intelligence shows Russia may continue to target civilian shipping in the Black Sea, including by laying sea mines in the approach to Ukrainian ports.
The U.K. previously warned that the Russian military had attempted a missile strike against a cargo ship in the Black Sea. “The U.K. assesses that Russia would lay blame on Ukraine for any attacks,” the FCDO said in a press statement.
An aerial view of a dry cargo ship transporting grain from Ukraine under the U.N.-brokered Black Sea deal.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
“The U.K. assesses Russia is seeking to target civilian shipping travelling through Ukraine’s ‘humanitarian corridor’ in order to deter the export of Ukrainian grain. This would continue Russia’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian economy. Russia almost certainly wants to avoid openly sinking civilian ships, instead falsely laying blame on Ukraine for any attacks against civilian vessels in the Black Sea,” it noted.
The FCDO said by releasing its assessment of this intelligence, the U.K. seeks to expose Russia’s tactics to deter any such incident.
“We are working with Ukraine and other partners to put in place arrangements to improve the safety of shipping. Our advice to British shipping has not changed — the U.K.’s maritime security level for Ukrainian ports and waters remains at the highest level due to the threat posed by Russia.”
It added that it had put in place intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea.
In July, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal with Ukraine to enable the safe export of agricultural products from three Ukrainian ports, saying its own exports faced continuing restrictions from sanctions.
Since then, the U.K. claimed that Russia has damaged 130 port infrastructure facilities in Odesa, Chornomorsk and Reni, and destroyed almost 300,000 tonnes of grain — more than the total amount Russia promised to donate to African states, and enough to feed over 1.3 million people for a year.
Russia has not responded to the U.K.’s claims.
— Holly Ellyatt
Ukraine has created ‘invisibility cloaks,’ minister says
Ukraine has created its equivalent of an invisibility cloak, digital transformation minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Have u ever read about invisibility cloaks in fairy tales? Well, Ukrainians made it,” Fedorov wrote.
The cloak in question blocks heat radiation, making soldiers invisible to thermal cameras, Fedorov said, and helping them to work effectively through the night.
— Hannah Ward-Glenton
UK PM says allies must provide tools for Ukraine to ‘finish the job’
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used his headline speech at the close of the conference to reassert his authority and outline a number of new policies.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on international allies to continue to support Ukraine during a major campaign speech.
“I say this to our allies, if we give President Zelenskyy the tools, the Ukrainians will finish the job,” Sunak said at the annual conference of the ruling Conservative Party. “Slava Ukraini [glory to Ukraine].”
The U.K. is the second largest provider of military assistance to Ukraine after the U.S., supplying £4.6 billion ($5.59 billion) in 2022 and committing to the same figure in 2023.
— Jenni Reid
Russian journalist who staged live TV protest sentenced in absentia
Marina Ovsyannikova stands inside a defendants’ box during a court session over charges of “discrediting” the Russian army, in Moscow, on August 11, 2022. She has since fled the country.
Natalia Kolesnikova | Afp | Getty Images
Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was on Wednesday sentenced in absentia to eight years and six months in jail for “public dissemination of knowingly false information” regarding the Russian armed forces, according to a Telegram post by the Moscow City Court.
Ovsyannikova garnered international attention in 2022 when she appeared on a live news broadcast on state TV with a sign saying “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you” in Russian and “Russians against war” in English, along with the Ukrainian and Russian flags.
She was charged under new Russian laws prohibiting the spread of false information or discrediting of the army, but escaped house arrest last year and fled with her daughter for a European country.
In a statement Tuesday, she called the charges “absurd and politically motivated.”
“Of course, I do not admit my guilt. And I don’t go back on a single word,” Ovsyannikova said.
— Jenni Reid
NATO official says Western military ammunition for Ukraine near ‘bottom of the barrel’
Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee.
Lise Aserud | Afp | Getty Images
NATO’s most senior official on Tuesday said “the bottom of the barrel is now visible” when it comes to Western military ammunition for Ukraine, according to a BBC report from the Warsaw Security Forum.
Admiral Rob Bauer, chair of the NATO Military Committee, said governments and defense manufacturers need to increase the speed of production.
“We need large volumes. The just-in-time, just-enough economy we built together in 30 years in our liberal economies is fine for a lot of things – but not the armed forces when there is a war ongoing,” Bauer said, according to the BBC.
— Jenni Reid
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