Photo by Media Center Ukraine – Odesa: Andriy Ryzhenko, captain 1st rank of the Ukrainian navy reserve, strategic expert at “Sonata”
August 1, 2023, 16:46

After the blockade on the Black Sea is broken, russians may make a false flag provocation – naval expert

The enemy has the ability to use naval warfare from the Bosphorus to the Ukrainian ports of Odesa region, and the enemy may well do so. This was stated by Andriy Ryzhenko, Captain of the 1st Rank of the Ukrainian Navy Reserve, strategic expert of the Sonata Company, at a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine – Odesa.

He recalled that at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the russians banned shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea and even attacked some vessels, including the Estonian cargo ship Helt flying the Panamanian flag. 

“The fact that the three vessels managed to break through the blockade and reach the Danube ports is good. However, they used the factor of surprise and sailed almost in the territorial waters of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. There are many more ships there now, and it is expected that they will follow the same route. And the russians can make a covert provocation against these vessels by attacking them with gravity sea mines or marine drones,” – Ryzhenko said.

He did not rule out the possibility that the russians could commit such a covert provocation under a false flag and accuse Ukraine of it.

“There is such a threat, the russians have a lot of forces in this part of the Black Sea,” – Ryzhenko emphasized.

Context: On the night of 2 August, three foreign vessels passed through the Russian blockade under the supervision of NATO aircraft and docked at a Ukrainian grain port in the Danube Delta.  The Greek and Israeli vessels sailed to Izmail via the Bosphorus, while the Turkish-Georgian vessel entered from northern Turkey. The ships sailed with their transponders switched on, without hiding their course. This is the first time foreign vessels have entered Ukrainian ports since russia withdrew from the grain agreement.

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