On November 3rd, 2022, Georgian-language Facebook users disseminated the information that Ukraine used the humanitarian corridor agreed upon for the transfer of wheat for the drone attack on Sevastopol, and that is why Russia left the agreement related to the export of wheat from Ukraine. Published posts are accompanied by a screenshot of the Russian vlogger Саня во Флориде’s video, who has voiced similar claims related to the humanitarian corridor.
On October 30th, the Ministry of Defense of Russia accused Ukraine of using the humanitarian corridor to attack Sevastopol. The same accusations were voiced by Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya. Relying on the Russian MoD and Nebenzya, the information was published by various Russian media outlets, including the Channel One of Russia, Izvestia and ЗВЕЗДА. The information was also circulated among Russian-language Facebook accounts as well (1,2,3).
The claim that Ukraine used the humanitarian corridor created for wheat exports to attack Sevastopol with drones is disinformation. An official representative of the UN confirmed that on the night of October 29th, at the time of the attack, no ships were located in the humanitarian corridor. Russia accuses Ukraine of using the humanitarian corridor for drone attacks without providing any evidence.
The attack on the Sevastopol port took place on October 29th. The Ukrainian side did not take responsibility for the incident, although it did not unequivocally deny the connection with the attack. Russia’s Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of using a humanitarian corridor created to export wheat for the attack and withdrew from the agreement.
According to the Russian side, a Canadian-made navigation module of one of the drones was obtained after the attack, and the data obtained from it confirms that the drones were launched from the coast near Odesa. However, according to CNN, the MoD of Russia did not provide any relevant evidence. It is also worth noting that after the attack, Russia accused Great Britain of preparing the Ukrainian military for a drone attack on Sevastopol, which the British Ministry of Defense quickly denied. “This invented story, says more about arguments going on inside the Russian Government than it does about the west,” the statement said. On October 30th, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, categorically denied the use of the humanitarian corridor for the attack and noted that the ships transporting wheat to Ukraine have nothing to do with the current processes and occupation.
The United Nations is directly involved in the monitoring process of transporting wheat using the humanitarian corridor. On October 31st, in response to the accusations voiced by Russia, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, stated that during the night of October 29th, at the time when the aerial attack on Sevastopol took place, no ships were located in the humanitarian corridor. Hence, drones couldn’t have been launched from the humanitarian corridor.
On July 22nd, with the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey, Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement within the framework of which a safe maritime corridor was agreed between three Ukrainian ports and Turkish territorial waters. A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was established in Istanbul to monitor the implementation of the agreement, which, in turn, unites four groups of 8 inspectors. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations are represented by two inspectors each. Monitoring teams inspect all ships entering Turkish waters using the corridor from Ukraine. Empty ships returning to Ukraine are also inspected to prevent weapons or unauthorized goods from being transported to Ukraine by ships and people being smuggled illegally. On November 2nd, four days after leaving the agreement, Russia rejoined the agreement.
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