Russia could stage 'false flag' incident in Black Sea, US State Department warns

Russia could stage 'false flag' incident in Black Sea, US State Department warns
Russia could stage 'false flag' incident in Black Sea, US State Department warns

After Russia's withdrawal from the grain deal, night attacks on Odesa Oblast, and naval exercises by the aggressor state, Washington fears that the Kremlin may be preparing a false flag operation in the Black Sea, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a briefing on July 24.

"We have information to suggest that they may be preparing a false flag operation — we believe they may be preparing a false flag operation; their threatening of ships operating in international waters; and then just today, this attack on the Danube," he said.

Miller emphasized that he will continue consultations with partners in the region on how to find alternative ways to export grain from Ukraine.

"There is no perfect solution that would allow Ukraine to ship the same amount of grain as it did under the Black Sea Grain Initiative without the reopening of those sea lanes," the State Department representative concluded.

"There just simply isn’t a way to get enough grain out through the Danube ports or over land or any other means."

Read also: Zelenskyy proposes to carry on with Black Sea grain deal without Russia

Russia officially announced its withdrawal from the grain deal on July 17, citing the repeated attacks on the Crimean Bridge, and withdrew its shipping safety guarantees in the Black Sea. The Russian military immediately began regular and targeted attacks on port infrastructure and grain terminals in Odesa Oblast.

On the same day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy proposed to extend the grain deal without Russian participation, jointly with Turkey and the UN. According to media reports, Ukraine is creating a temporary alternative route for food exports via the Black Sea through Romania's territorial waters.

Russia announced on July 19 that it will consider all ships sailing to Ukrainian ports to be "military targets."

In response, Ukraine's Defense Ministry warned that it would consider all vessels heading to Russian ports in the Black Sea, as well as to ports in the temporarily occupied territories, as "carrying military cargo with all the corresponding risks."

Russia conducted practice missile strikes in the Black Sea on July 21 after threatening to attack all vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports.

During the drills, Russian forces demonstratively sank the Ukrainian corvette Ternopil, which was hijacked in 2014 during the occupation of Crimea.

Read also: SBU charges ex-Russian Black Sea Fleet commander with ordering deadly missile strike on Vinnytsia

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine