Oct 31 UPDATE: Grain corridor is open, and nobody asked Russia to grace the world with its’ permission or denial to open corridor. As long as Turkey is backing grain corridor, it will be running. The only way Russia can stop grain ships traffic, is a physical blockade of Ukrainian ports, but Turkey can in its’ turn, establish caravans-based system like in WWII, to be escorted by Turkish Navy or probably, even NATO Navies ships. It’s a several hours run, from Odessa to safe international waters or to Bosphorus, not a difficult task, considering distance and Russian Naval capabilities. So everything depends on Turkish determination to keep corridor open, it has all cards on its’ hands to provide safe grain corridor. Russia won’t dare to directly confront Turkey, let alone NATO ships (no need in air-carriers or cruisers or even frigates – corvettes and mine-sweepers are ideal for the task).
It is already widely believed, that Ukraine is behind massive attack of Sevastopol Navy Base early in the morning Oct 29, though Ukraine officially doesn’t take responsibility. Unmanned surface drones and probably, air drones as well, struck the ships in Sevastopol, Ukraine unofficially insists at least three ships were hit, among them frigate ADMIRAL MAKAROV of Admiral Grigorovich-class. Frigate was badly damaged and might be sunk, they say. If true (like it was in the case of cruiser MOSCOW sinking), it means a great deal for Ukraine, both as one more military success and more importantly, as the reduction of Russian everyday missiles barrage, which is destroying Ukrainian civil infrastructure and killing innocent people. ADMIRAL MAKAROV is (or hopefully, was) one of the few platforms carrying and launching cruise missiles Kalibr, air and sea.
Russia didn’t keep the world waiting for a response for long, and, not surprisingly, suspended grain deal, bringing graine exports from Ukraine to a halt. Russia was desperately searching for more or less plausible excuse to close grain corridor for at least two months already, and finally, found one, if rather clumsy. Russia said it was a terror attack (! – attacking enemy military is terrorism, according to Kremlin wise men), Navy ships were engaged in protecting cargo ships in grain corridor. What? Protecting merchant ships in Black sea? From whom, from bloody aliens? Well, Russia doesn’t care how does pretext look. Russia is going on with blackmailing the world, in a desperate attempt to reach some kind of armistice. Russia is losing the war. Russia can’t win or lose and keep dignity, either in the its’ past, or now.
I’ve been expecting grain corridor closure, I’m surprised it took so long. I didn’t know what pretext Russia would make up, fearing it might blow up one of cargo ships and blame Ukraine. Luckily, though there were explosions, Russian ships were blown up, not merchant ships.
The Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates: 3 frigates built for Black Sea Fleet, all 3 commissioned in 2016-2017, displacement 4000 tons, speed 30 knots, armament guns, missiles including cruise missiles Kalibr, torpedoes, helicopter, complement 200.