The UK government warned on Wednesday that Russia may use sea mines to target civilian shipping in the Black Sea, in order to deter the export of Ukrainian grain.

Intelligence suggests that Russia may continue to target civilian shipping in the Black Sea, including by laying sea mines in the approach to Ukrainian ports.

The UK assesses that Russia would lay blame on Ukraine for any attacks.

It previously warned that the Russian military had attempted a missile strike against a cargo ship in the Black Sea.

According to the UK’s assessment, Russia aims to target civilian shipping travelling through Ukraine’s ‘humanitarian corridor’ in order to deter the export of Ukrainian grain.

The government said it believes Russia wants to avoid openly sinking civilian ships. It wants to “falsely laying blame” on Ukraine for any attacks against civilian vessels in the Black Sea.

The UK government says it is releasing the assessment of this intelligence as it seeks to expose Russia’s tactics to deter any such incident from occurring.

Meanwhile, it is working with Ukraine and other partners to put in place arrangements to improve the safety of shipping.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “Russia’s pernicious targeting of civilian shipping in the Black Sea demonstrates Putin’s total disregard for civilian lives and the needs of the world’s most vulnerable. The world is watching – and we see right through Russia’s cynical attempts to lay blame on Ukraine for their attacks.”

The government wants to make sure that Ukraine can continue to export its agricultural produce through all appropriate routes including its ‘humanitarian corridor’, overland and via the Danube.

At the G20 in September, the prime minister announced a further UK contribution of £3m to the World Food Programme to help deliver Ukrainian grain to the world’s poorest.