Posted by Curt on 24 May, 2022 at 8:36 am. 1 comment.


By MoA:

The Baltic nutters have a another great and of course completely impractical idea.

UK backs Lithuania’s plan to lift Russian blockade of Ukraine grain

Britain has backed in principle a proposal by Lithuania for a naval coalition “of the willing” to lift the Russian Black Sea blockade on Ukrainian grain exports.The Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, proposed the plan during talks with the UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, on Monday in London.
“Time is very very short. We are closing in on a new harvest and there is no other practical way of exporting the grain except through the Black Sea port of Odesa,” he told the Guardian. “There is no way of storing this grain and no other adequate alternative route. It is imperative that we show vulnerable countries we are prepared to take the steps that are needed to feed the world.”
Landsbergis proposed that a naval escort operation – not run by Nato – could protect the grain ships as they headed through the Black Sea and past Russian warships. He suggested that, apart from Britain, countries that were affected by the potential loss of grain such as Egypt could provide the necessary protection.
…He said Ukraine needed to export 80m tonnes of wheat alone this year and the only option was through Odesa.

Let me help Mr. Landsbergis with some facts:

  • The port of Odesa is blocked by Ukraine, not by Russia.
  • Ukraine does not have 80 million tons of wheat to export. In a good year the total grain production in Ukraine is 80 million tons. Some 50% of that is corn and some 40% wheat. Only two-third of that will be exported.
  • The Ukraine is currently exporting 1.5 million tons of grains per month. Most of that is going through Romania.
  • Given that this years planting did not go as planned the Ukraine will hardly have any wheat to export later this year.

Still some know-nothing falls for Landsbergis’ scheme:

After meeting Landsbergis, Truss said the UK would want British naval ships to join the escort if the practicalities could be sorted, including demining the harbour and providing Ukraine with longer-range weapons to defend the harbour from Russian attack. The UK is in discussions with allies about the plan and it would probably need US agreement to be activated.Truss said: “What we need to do is deal with this global food security issue and the UK is working on an urgent solution to get the grain out of Ukraine”.

The Ukraine is only number 5 of the largest wheat exporters with some 8% market share. Russia, the global wheat exporter no. 1, will have a record crop this year. The global food security issue is thereby a question of price and accessibility, not of the globally available quantity.
I find Liz Truss’ point of “providing Ukraine with longer-range weapons to defend the harbour” quite interesting. Didn’t the Ukraine claim that it hit the Russian ship Moskva with two Ukrainian made cruise missiles? If it really did so it already has the longer-range weapons to hit Russian ships. Is Truss leaking that the Ukraine lied about those missile hits?
The whole idea of sending an armed escort convoy and long range weapons is just nuts. What Ukraine would need are not only missiles but targeting data and radar with which that can be acquired. Unfortunately radar does emit electromagnetic waves which makes it detectable and vulnerable. Russia has already knocked out several radars in and around Odessa. What is Truss’ plan to avoid that?
And don’t get me going about Russia’s submarines which are completely sufficient to sink anything in the Black Sea that Russia does not like to be there.

Meanwhile the war is progressing in Russia’s favor. I do not have time to show detailed maps of what is happening but there are two reasonable Youtube channels which provide good daily reports based on multiple sources. These are Military Summary and Defense Politics Aaaaasia.
In the north Lyman has fallen with reports of Ukrainian troops withdrawing after a short fight. In the east the Ukrainian held city Severodonetsk is mostly isolated and now under fierce attack. Several more towns around the Popasna bulge have been taken by the Russian side. South of it the city Svetlodarsk has fallen after the Ukrainian tried but failed to destroy a nearby dam. The Ukrainian troops retreated without a fight.
Instead of holding the lines by all means Ukrainian units now seem more interested in running away. That is more healthy for them and also solves their serious supply issues. Like other supply lines the Bakhmut-Lisichansk road is now under Russian fire control. This video shows what that means.
What we are seeing now are the effects of nearly three months of Russian artillery war.

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Interesting perspective:

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