By Haider Abbas
The Russia-Ukraine war, with every passing day, since February, is entering into its own new phases. It is now getting clear that Ukraine, which is better known as ‘bread-basket’ of Europe, is to face a new heat, as Russia is likely to put-an-end to it, all the while as winters are to set into. It has been reported by CNN 1 on October 29, that ‘ Russia will suspend its participation in the UN brokered grain export deal with Ukraine after drone attacks on the Crimean city of Sevastopol, The Russian foreign ministry said the country has suspended its participation for an “indefinite period of time. Taking into account the act of terrorism committed by the Kyiv (Ukraine capital) regime with the participation of British experts on October 29 this year against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civil vessels involved in the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreements on the export of agricultural products from the Ukrainian ports.”
It may be known that this UN brokered grain deal which is also known as a Black Sea Grain initiative with the purpose for the safe transportation of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine was signed between Russia, Ukraine. Turkey and UN, ironically in July when the war was going-on. This is what Russia has annulled as it accuses that instead of grains and foodstuffs Ukraine has been importing weapons through this route. The latest point of conflagration came out when there had been a series of drone attacks on Russian Navy in Crimea (taken over by Russia in 2014) by nine drones and seven maritime drones, reported Deccan Herald 2 on October 30, by Ukraine, with the help of British experts. The meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) was held in New Delhi which saw a war of words between representatives of Moscow and London over a drone attack on the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol Port of Crimea.
Russia’s stand has come within days when its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline had come under attack, on September 30, which Russia has accused US and UK to have done it on October 29 informed TOI 3
This pipeline in fact is the lifeline as Russia supplies its gas first to Germany and through it to the whole of Europe. Russia has accused UK of terrorism. The Black Sea which falls to the south of Ukraine has many Russian naval bases and this has now come under attack which Russia has alleged has been the joint venture of Ukraine and UK and this has been done through the guise of Safe-Zone Corridor, which obviously is now to have a new fallout on world economy, particularly over food! It may be mentioned that Ukraine has a lot of grain harvesting, and supplies its grains to Europe, and since the war began, the prices of grains and wheat has seen a stupendous hike, as exports have become overnight difficult. This is now to result into inflation as Rishi Sunak government in UK has already started to warn over the price-rise as Russia has scrapped the Safe-Zone Corridor deal.
The very ironic part of this whole unfolding scenario is that UK media has also highlighted that Russia is into knowing ‘all in advance’ of UK planning and fears! The report from Daily Mail 4 on October 29, claims that UK outgoing PM ‘Liz Truss’s personal phone was hacked by Kremlin agents, was so compromised (that) it was locked away in a ‘secure location’ as experts fear top secret negotiations and private messages may have been leaked.’ This was when she was Foreign-Secretary under the erstwhile Boris Johnson’s government. If this claim holds any worth, it may also be understood that Rishi Sunak phone too may have been hacked too ! It therefore did not surprise anyone that Russian President Vladimir Putin knew the Liz Truss’s fears that Russia might use ‘nukes’ in her last days in office, as she was scared that such would be a fragile moment, as UK would not having a powerful leadership right then. Her stint at the highest house as PM lasted for 45 days.
Putin’s tapping the phones, from ‘so far-off’ speaks volumes of the technology excellence exuded by his intelligence agents, as Russians have a tremendous record for it, as it was way back in 2015, that Russians had hacked the ‘whole’ US White-House, reported by CNN 5 , which was also acknowledged by US establishment too. This has been detailed in a long report by Reuters 6 on April 15, 2021, saying that US blamed Russian Spy Agency SVR for the hack. SVR is an External Intelligence Service of Russia which has a proven record of dominance in hacking and surveillance etc far ahead of even Israel intelligence agency Mossad.
The Russian revenge, after the drone attacks on Russian warships and civilian vessels, is now on the spree as Power Grid attacks on Ukraine have come, and a total freezing of Black Sea has taken place with strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure etc, as the same marine corridors (meant for grains transport) were used for attacks and Putin has warned that more-action-could-follow. Russia was caught by deception, and hence, wants to do away from it. However Ukraine has denied it all.
What matters more, is the Russian strategy to entangle UK more aggressively, for the sake, to anyhow make UK desist from supporting European nations, dependent on Russian gas, as the long winters are on the anvil soon. The freezing cold ahead, will make European nations, seek Russian gas, and abandon Ukraine as European nations are wary of US, which has been selling natural-gas at very high-rates. It was recently flagged by France and Germany, as France President Emanuel Macron called for US ‘double-standards’, towards the price paid by France over US LPG imports, informed News18 7 on October 22. In a stark example of making profit out of a disaster!
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international issues.