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Aug 4, 2022
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Ukraine blocked Europe’s most important trade route

For a week on the Danube, three Ukrainian ships have already run into an “unknown explosive device.” The paradox is that ships explode not at all on Russian, but on their own mines. At the beginning of the special operation, out of fright, the Armed Forces of Ukraine randomly threw mines around Odessa, some of them drifted into the neighboring Danube. As a result, neither Ukraine nor Europe can use the mouth of their great river any more.

The Ukrainian pilot boat “Orlyk”, which was blown up by a Ukrainian mine at the mouth of the Danube last week, could not be lifted. The fact is that the floating crane sent on Tuesday to lift the vessel was also blown up. This was reported on Wednesday by the portal Ukraina.ru.

The military command “South” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed to the Ukrainian media that the floating crane was damaged during the detonation of an “unknown explosive device” at the mouth of Bystry – in one of the channels connecting Europe’s largest river with the Black Sea. It is reported that the crew of the floating crane independently organized the struggle for damage.

Ukraina.ru states: “Orlik” has already become the second auxiliary vessel that dies in this area. On July 28, in the same Danube mouth Bystry, in a collision with a drifting mine, a small hydrographic vessel “Shlyakhovich” was blown up, which measured the depths. According to Ukrainian Shipping Magazine, Shlyakhovich received damage, the extent of which is yet to be determined by rescuers. Now the hydrographic vessel is on the breakwater at the entrance to Bystroye from the Black Sea.

Since the exact location of the mines laid by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is unknown, this hinders the resumption of Ukrainian dry cargo ships with grain. At the same time, we recall that Kyiv announced the resumption of navigation along the Danube-Black Sea canal (passing through the Danube delta) on July 9, shortly after the withdrawal of the Russian contingent from Zmeiny Island.

The reason for the incidents was that the Ukrainian Navy in February hastily and without hesitation was mining the Danube mouth, Ukraina.ru notes. Thus, the Ukrainian military tried to prevent the landing of Russian troops in Odessa, Yuzhny (Odessa region), Ochakov (Nikolaev region) and other ports. But the minefields were put up clumsily, explained the captain of the 3rd rank of the reserve Maxim Klimov. The storm tore the ammunition from the anchors, after which they began to be carried by the current to the open sea, experts say. Mines were found off the Romanian and even Turkish coasts. So, at the end of March, the Turkish military neutralized a Ukrainian floating munition at the mouth of the Bosphorus, due to which transit through the strategically important strait had to be temporarily blocked.

“Ukrainian military-miner mismanagement began to give results at the mouth of the Danube,” economist Vasily Koltashov stated. He emphasized:

“The mouth of the Danube was of great importance for navigation, but now Ukrainian mines have drifted there, and this means that it will not be safe to transport grain as before – new incidents are possible. Thus, the most important river route for Europe turned out to be inaccessible. Ukraine was able to excel here as well.”

“Romanian ships and ships under other flags may suffer. We urgently need to take measures to track these ammunition, which became a factor of surprise, ”Koltashov emphasizes. At the same time, the economist is sure that the European Union is unlikely to publicly express dissatisfaction with the mining of the Danube and pretend that nothing happened and the problem does not exist.

Klimov also believes that similar incidents at the confluence of the Danube into the Black Sea are quite possible. “I do not rule out that the Ukrainian military did not draw up maps of minefields,” notes the captain of the 3rd rank of the reserve. – Ukraine has a very low mine culture. But a mine is such a thing that does not allow itself to be treated lightly, so new explosions are possible.” The only thing that somewhat reduces the danger is the poor quality of preparation of the mines themselves, the source points out. According to the footage published on the Web, it was clear that in a number of cases the protective caps were not removed from the ammunition. According to Klimov, based on this, up to 50% of Ukrainian sea mines are completely safe.

But it is obvious that the passage of ships through the Danube “girls” (channels in the delta) becomes a kind of lottery, experts state. If the mines reach Turkey, “that’s why I’m scared to imagine what’s going on somewhere in the reeds at the mouth of the river,” said economist Ivan Lizan. “There are fewer ships passing by. It is necessary to take into account the fact that not one will go to sea without insurance, with which there have been problems for a long time. It is expensive to insure ships that enter the war zone – the risks are too high. In this regard, it is more profitable for many shipowners not to let ships out of the port than to bear financial risks and resolve issues with the insurance company,” the interlocutor explained.

Lizan emphasizes that the Danube is primarily important for Ukraine itself, because this transport artery is used for trade. “There are several seaports at the mouth of the Danube through which grain was exported, and this happened even before the conclusion of the grain deal. Sea ports were blocked, and the Reni port worked and shipped grain. And the fact that it is now full of mines is a problem for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU). They put these mines and they have to remove them. Russia will not do this. And taking into account the fact that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not up to it now, new incidents are possible, ”the expert says.

According to the captain of the 3rd rank of the reserve Klimov, theoretically it will be easy to clear the water area of ​​the mouth of the Danube from Ukrainian mines. “These are mostly small anchor mines with positive buoyancy. They were placed near Odessa, – the interlocutor explained. – If such ammunition falls on the ground, then it is actually safe. Floating anchor mines are cleared out, they are very well seen by sonar stations, that is, there are no problems with finding them. When carrying out professional mine action, the water area is easily cleaned – in any case, the fairway is quickly made safe. But for the start of mine action, hostilities must be stopped. Ukraine will not agree to this.”

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