impede traffic in port areas.”
NARRATIVE: Ukraine might cause an extinction-level catastrophe in the Black Sea by launching naval mines
BACKGROUND: A month since the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the Russian army has reported no notable military success. Most major cities are still under the control of Ukrainian forces, and Russia seems to have changed its original tactics, which seemed to rely on a lightning invasion, in exchange for sieging and shelling cities, including civilian areas. The purpose is to sow fear among the Ukrainian population in order to put pressure on the political class and the army to surrender and accept Russia’s peace terms.
As regards the southern region of Odessa, Russian troops have not reported any military success on the ground in a long time. The city was turned into a genuine fortress with both land and naval defenses. There’s no way the Russians can breach the city by land or by sea, and any attempts to parachute troops were swiftly thwarted by Ukrainian forces. The defenses of Odessa and the Ukrainian Black Sea coast also include the deployment of mines.
The narrative regarding the threat of an explosion in the Black Sea was launched during Cozmin Gușă’s radio show by the former journalist Sorin Roșca Stănescu. Both individuals have over the years taken public positions in line with Russian propaganda. Ever since the start of the war, Cozmin Gușă was involved in disseminating anti-Ukrainian narratives in Romania. In turn, Sorin Roșca Stănescu was one of the advocates of such narratives, also arguing that Romania would risk a war with Russia due to Ukraine. Roșca Stănescu does not have any particular training in the military or environment fields to be entitled to tackle such topics that require a scientific and military explanation.
Sorin Roșca Stănescu referred to the threat in the Black Sea shortly after the Russian news agency TASS launched the information regarding an alleged threat posed by Ukrainian mines.
Roșca Stănescu made no mention in his intervention on Gold FM about the origin of this hypothesis, particularly in order not to expose it as an operation of Russian disinformation.
PURPOSE: To scare the local population and generate anti-Ukrainian hostility. To mount public pressure so as to determine authorities to demand the removal of the mines, which would favor Russia.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: “The Russian claims about Ukrainian mines adrift in the Black Sea is an issue that could hamper sea navigation and spread fear, rather than pose a real threat”, the head of the Bulgarian Naval Forces, admiral Kiril Mikhailov said.
Three days ago, Romania too dispatched its minelayer “Vice-admiral Constantin Bălescu” to the Black Sea, with the task of probing Romania’s territorial waters for mines, although the ship didn’t pick up any such objects on its radar.
Veridica has also talked to military experts in Chișinău, who explained the probability such mines should detach from their wires is very small.
“First of all, considering the information is coming from the Russians (from Novorossiysk, which is quite far from Odessa), this could be a fake piece of news, typical of Russia. Besides, Romania and Bulgaria reported no sea mines drifting in the Black Sea. I don’t know Turkey’s official position.
According to specialists, the mines detaching from the wires they were planted to is highly unlikely, even during a storm. I can only assume this is some subversive scheme of Russia: to set mines adrift in order to hinder trade navigation in the Black Sea”, a high-ranking officer with the Moldovan army said, under protection of anonymity.
The theory regarding the explosion of the Black Sea was launched in the Soviet era, as Sorin Roșca Stănescu himself admitted, but it was debunked more than three decades ago. Moreover, the Black Sea has seen naval warfare throughout the years, including the use of sea mines, which caused numerous explosions, although no cataclysmic event ever occurred – not even one that might suggest the possibility. There is, indeed, hydrogen sulfide in the Black Sea, but it would take a massive explosion for it to cause a cataclysm – tantamount to the impact of an asteroid of at least 250 m in diameter, or a nuclear explosion.