WASHINGTON — The White House warned Wednesday that Russia could expand its targets against Ukraine’s grain facilities to include attacks on civilian shipping in the Black Sea.
Adam Hodge, a White House National Security Council spokesman, said US officials have information indicating that Russia placed additional sea mines on the approaches to Ukrainian ports.
“We believe that this is a coordinated effort to justify any attacks on civilian ships in the Black Sea and blame Ukraine for these attacks,” he said.
Hodge said Russia had announced that all ships headed for Ukrainian ports in Black Sea waters would be considered as possible carriers of military cargo and said US intelligence indicated Russia had placed additional sea mines on the approaches to Ukrainian ports.
“In addition to this coordinated effort in the Black Sea, we have already observed that Russia attacked Ukraine’s grain export ports in Odessa with missiles and drones on July 18 and 19, resulting in the destruction of agricultural infrastructure and 60,000 tons of grain,” it said.
Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of damaging grain export infrastructure in “hellish” nightly strikes centered on two of its Black Sea ports, vowing not to be intimidated into working to prevent grain exports from leaving them.
Russia warns ships in Black Sea and Ukraine to create temporary grain export route
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