Ukraine: UK warns of Russian attacks on cargo ships

Russia may use sea mines to target civilian shipping in the Black Sea, the UK government has cautioned. Meanwhile, the US has sent a million rounds of ammunition confiscated from Iran to Kyiv

The US has sent Ukraine more than 1 million rounds of ammunition that was seized from Iran in 2022 (photo:DW)
The US has sent Ukraine more than 1 million rounds of ammunition that was seized from Iran in 2022 (photo:DW)


The United Kingdom, citing intelligence, has said that Russia could target civilian shipping in the Black Sea by laying sea mines on the approaches to Ukraine's ports.

Moscow has been targeting Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure since July, when it withdrew from a deal that had allowed the safe passage of Ukrainian food exports through the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, the US has sent Ukraine more than 1 million rounds of ammunition that was seized from Iran in 2022.

Here are the main headlines about Russia's war in Ukraine on Thursday, October 5:

Iranian ammo seized by US heads to Ukraine

The US government says it has sent Ukraine over 1 million rounds of ammunition that had been seized from Iran last year.

The ammunition was originally seized by the US military in December 2022 on a ship in the Gulf of Oman, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the US Department of Justice said.

Iran was trying to send the nearly 1.1 million rounds to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Department of Justice said.

"The US is committed to working with our allies and partners to counter the flow of Iranian lethal aid in the region by all lawful means including US and UN sanctions and through interdictions," the statement from the Central Command said.

With this weapons transfer, actions against one authoritarian regime are now directly supporting the Ukrainian people's fight against another authoritarian regime, the Justice Department said.

"We will continue to use every legal authority at our disposal to support Ukraine in their fight for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law," it added.

Kyiv says troops making headway in south

Ukraine's troops have made some progress in their campaign southward amid a counteroffensive to retake areas captured by Russia, military officials said on Wednesday.

"We have had partial success to the west of Robotyne," Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine's southern group of forces, said on national television, noting that Kyiv's soldiers are "continuing to reinforce the positions they hold."

"In certain areas, we are advancing from 100 to 600 meters."

Ukraine's southward drive has been slower compared to its lightning gains in the northeast a year earlier. However, the country's forces have captured a string of villages, and officials say they are readying themselves around Robotyne and other villages for more advances.

In its evening report, the General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said that its soldiers had repelled Russian attacks near Robotyne and Verbove.

UK says Russia may target civilian ships with mines in Black Sea

Russia could target civilian shipping in the Black Sea by using sea mines — including by laying them on approaches to Ukrainian ports, the UK government has warned.

Citing declassified intelligence, it said there was a risk of attack to cargo ships with Ukrainian exports passing through a "humanitarian corridor" recently set up by Kyiv.

"Russia almost certainly wants to avoid openly sinking civilian ships, instead falsely laying blame on Ukraine for any attacks against civilian vessels in the Black Sea," Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement.

"By releasing our assessment of this intelligence, the UK seeks to expose Russia's tactics to deter any such incident from occurring."

Last month, Britain said that Moscow's forces had targeted a civilian cargo ship in the region with "multiple missiles," adding that they were successfully thwarted by air defenses.

"Russia's pernicious targeting of civilian shipping in the Black Sea demonstrates [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's total disregard for civilian lives and the needs of the world's most vulnerable," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

"The world is watching — and we see right through Russia's cynical attempts to lay blame on Ukraine for their attacks," he added.

In July, Moscow withdrew from a deal that had allowed Ukraine to safely ship food products out through what was traditionally its main export route in the Black Sea.

Kyiv, in response, set up a temporary "humanitarian corridor" for cargo vessels.

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