Russia May Be Preparing False Flag Operation in Black Sea – US State Department

Tuesday, 25 July 2023

The US State Department has warned that Russia may be preparing a false flag operation in the Black Sea amid a series of attacks on port infrastructure in the south of Ukraine.

Matthew Miller, State Department spokesman, recalled at a briefing Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and said that last week Russia had conducted a training attack on a mock ship in the Black Sea.

"We’ve had information to suggest that they may be preparing a false flag operation," Miller said.

The State Department official added that the US will continue to consult with partners on alternative ways to export Ukrainian grain.

At the same time, Miller acknowledged that without opening sea routes, "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.

On 17 July, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal and threatened "risks" for parties that were considering continuing the grain deal without Russia's participation. In addition, Moscow began massive attacks on the port infrastructure of Odesa and the Danube ports.

In particular, on the night of 23-24 July, the Russian military struck Odesa Oblast again. The Ukrainian military stated that the attack targeted the port infrastructure of the Danube. The strikes destroyed a grain warehouse and damaged tanks for storing other cargo.

Against this backdrop, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called for more active assistance to Ukraine.

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