Espreso. Global

Russian threat to mine Ukrainian grain corridor: how to respond

5 October, 2023 Thursday
14:51

British intelligence has issued a warning about Russia's plan to disrupt grain shipments from Ukraine in the Black Sea using sea mines. Counteracting this threat is a challenging task, but there is one potential solution

client/title.list_title

Defense Express writes about it.

The Russian Federation's withdrawal from the grain agreement earlier this year and its declaration of unlimited naval warfare in July raised concerns about the safety of the grain corridor. While these actions have already disrupted shipping, further attacks on port infrastructure have not ceased.

Now, the UK Ministry of Defense reports that Russia intends to target civilian vessels navigating the Ukrainian "humanitarian corridor" to hinder the export of Ukrainian grain. They may deploy sea mines along the route and near Ukrainian ports, opting for mines to avoid direct blame for ship sinkings.

Russia may use submarines for mining

This scenario aligns with an earlier prediction by expert Petro Chernyk in August, suggesting the involvement of submarines in mining operations for covert execution. Submarines offer stealth compared to surface ships, which could be destroyed by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles, or aircraft vulnerable to air defenses.

Russian submarines, particularly the Project 636 “Varshavyanka” submarines, use advanced mines equipped with three-channel sensors (acoustic, electromagnetic, and hydrodynamic). The MDM (UDM) mine, for instance, has a 645-800 kg warhead, and the MShM mine can attack ships from considerable depths.

Storm Shadow can be a solution

Ukraine currently lacks conventional means to combat submarines effectively, requiring anti-submarine ships, aircraft, helicopters, and ideally, submarines. Attacking submarines in Novorossiysk, where the Russian Black Sea Fleet relocated, poses significant challenges.

One alternative is to seek permission from Western partners to use Storm Shadow/SCALP missiles against Russian military facilities. However, this option faces logistical hurdles due to the distance and airspace considerations.

Countering the Russian threat to mine the Black Sea presents a complex challenge. Nonetheless, it becomes feasible if partners permit the use of cruise missiles against Russian military targets and support a coordinated air operation.

More about the humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea

On 17 July, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal. In response, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it was necessary to continue using the grain corridor despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement. 

On August 10, the Ukrainian Navy announced a temporary humanitarian corridor for merchant ships sailing to and from Ukrainian ports.

On August 12, Ukraine opened the registration of merchant ships and their owners who are ready to use temporary routes to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

On August 16, the first vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced that it would terminate the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 26, the second vessel left the port of Odesa, and on September 1, two more vessels blocked due to the war left the port of Pivdennyi in the Odesa region.

On September 16, the blocked bulk carrier PUMA (Cayman Islands) left the Odesa seaport. The vessel was loaded with 16,000 tons of metal and 14,000 tons of rapeseed.

On the same day, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that the first civilian ships had confirmed their readiness to use the route to the Chornomorsk port to load almost 20,000 tons of wheat for Africa and Asia.

On September 16, Kubrakov said that after Russia withdrew from the grain deal, the occupiers struck Ukraine's ports 118 times. About a third of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed.

On September 19, the vessel RESILIENT AFRICA left Odesa's Chornomorsk port via a temporary corridor: it was loaded with 3,000 tons of wheat

Tags:
Read also:
  • News
2024, Wednesday
17 July
13:41
Exclusive
Urozhaine is under Russian control: DeepState on situation in Donetsk region
13:22
Japan to transfer $3.3 billion of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine
13:04
Exclusive
Clear sky for F-16s: military expert Zgurets on systematic work to weaken Russian air defense
12:46
Review
Ten years since MH17 tragedy: memory and truth
12:25
Ukrainian air defense downs 4 Russian reconnaissance UAVs
12:07
Greece considers selling old F-16s to help Ukraine - media
11:50
Exclusive
Russian 'meat' assaults halt in Pokrovsk direction — Ukrainian military
11:31
Review
Another unexpected US ban emerges alongside restrictions on weapon use. Serhiy Zgurets' column
11:12
Germany to allocate €10 million to rebuild Kyiv's Okhmatdyt hospital
10:54
Exclusive
Other countries must join war in Ukraine to defeat Russia – diplomat Chaly
10:33
Updated
Russian army attacks in 11 frontline areas, 112 combat clashes occur over past day - Ukraine's General Staff
10:13
Russian troops advance near 4 settlements in Donetsk region – DeepState
09:55
Ukrainian forces target Russian air defense systems to prepare for F-16 deployment - ISW
09:34
Russia loses 1,110 soldiers, 43 artillery systems, 11 tanks in Ukraine per day
2024, Tuesday
16 July
21:22
Review
Victorious news of 874th day of war: partisans disclose secret military center in Crimea, Ukrainian troops hit Russian air defense system in Donetsk region
21:05
Russian losses in Kharkiv sector reaching divisions, but they keep storming - 3rd Brigade
20:45
OPINION
How should Ukraine talk to European right?
20:24
Exclusive
Ukraine is likely to receive up to 20 Mirage-2000 fighter jets from France - Defense Express
20:01
Russia uses medical check-ups as pretext for deportation, brings doctors from Yakutia to Ukraine
19:42
Russian army drops 36 glide bombs in Kharkiv sector over day
19:20
Tenth anniversary of MH17: EU calls on Russia to accept responsibility
19:01
French writer Bernard-Henri Levy visits brigade, where Ukrainian writer Zhadan serves
18:40
Exclusive
Russia tries to form cauldron for AFU in Donetsk region - Ukrainian Colonel Selezniov
18:15
It will take Ukraine 3 years to restore DniproHES hydroelectric power plant
17:50
Those involved will not go unpunished: Ukraine’s reaction to Belarus' agreements with Crimean occupation authorities  
17:26
Dynamics of Russian military losses in Ukraine, pace of Russian offensive
17:00
MEPs urge stripping Hungary of EU voting rights after Orbán's Russia, China visits
16:37
Russia deploys priests to occupied territories, urging soldiers to return to front
16:17
Ukraine's intelligence and cyber volunteers attack nearly 100 Russian web resources
15:55
Orbán's mediation mission in Ukraine war is "meaningless" - Hungarian political scientist
15:36
Ukraine, Czech Republic to hold intergovernmental consultations in Prague
15:13
Roberta Metsola re-elected as president of European Parliament
14:59
Russia attacks gas service brigade, official in Kherson region
14:43
Russia seeks to prevent potential recruits and mobilised persons from leaving country - UK intelligence
14:25
U.S. supports Ukraine's efforts to engage Russia in upcoming Peace Summit - State Department spokesman
13:55
Review
Strange intrigue surrounds possible supply of Swedish Gripens to Ukraine. Serhiy Zgurets' column
13:35
Ukrainian refugees risk homelessness in UK – Red Cross
13:10
Exclusive
No country has re-equipped so quickly: military expert on F-16 for Ukraine
12:59
UK to strengthen armed forces amid tensions with “deadly quartet”
12:47
Ukraine denies Russian fake alleging Ukraine's plot to assassinate Hungary’s Orban
More news