The recent wave of devastating Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s Black Sea fleet may have as much to do with Ukraine’s economic prospects as its military tactics.
Ukraine was able to claim parts of the disputed Black Sea after intensifying its attacks on the Russian naval fleet in recent weeks. The attacks caused severe damage to Russian equipment and infrastructure in occupied Crimea, so much so that British intelligence said this week that Moscow’s fleet would likely lose the ability to defend itself.
The escalating tensions in the Black Sea come two months after Russia withdrew from a UN-brokered initiative Ukraine was allowed to continue exporting tens of millions of tons of grain In the middle of the war.
In July, Russia said it would end ensuring the safety of shipping in the northwestern Black Sea, sending additional ships to patrol the region and firing warning shots at a cargo ship last month as part of increasingly tense efforts to block Ukrainian economic exports.
“The key to the current wave of attacks on the Black Sea Fleet is the grain — and broader export — issue,” says Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a historian of the Soviet Union, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Relations told Insider.
Availability of Ukraine About 10% of the world’s exports are wheat And about half of the world’s sunflower oil, earning it the nickname “Europe’s breadbasket.” The UN agreement, reached in July 2022, was an attempt to avoid catastrophic food shortages around the world following the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Ukrainian grain exports for September were down more than 50% from this time last year. Data from the country’s Ministry of Agriculture showed Earlier this month, highlighting the need for access to Black Sea ports for Ukraine’s exports.
“If Ukraine cannot get the grain out, its budget problems will be more serious,” Miles said.
But in recent weeks, the country has created a new Black Sea shipping corridor that avoids Russian port blockades. Ukrainian Navy He said this week. The country said that seven cargo ships have already successfully sailed on the new route.
New York times He cited experts and analysts this week who said the success of the new corridor may be thanks to Ukraine’s newfound ability to target Russian warships and deter them from entering Ukrainian waters, as well as the country’s efforts to obstruct Russian intelligence operations in the Black Sea.
The newspaper reported that the new route leads Ukrainian ships through an area protected by sea mines along the country’s shores. Once the ships leave Ukrainian waters, they remain near the coasts of NATO countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, for additional protection.
The Times newspaper, citing experts, reported that Ukrainian forces intensified their attacks on the Russian fleet in conjunction with the new corridor to deter Russia from closing the route.
Ukraine’s economic interests in the Black Sea form an additional layer to the war already raging in the region. Ukraine has long had reasons to target Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which plays a key role in launching long-range missile strikes.
Reclaiming Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, is a major goal of Ukrainian defense officials. Ukraine recently launched missile strikes on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in the city of Sevastopol.
He added: “Of course, restoring Crimea is the ultimate goal of Ukrainian leaders. They have been clear about this matter, but I think in the near term they are trying to persuade the Russians to change their calculations of risks when it comes to blocking access to Ukrainian ports.” “And it reopened,” Miles said.
Source : BalkanTravellers