Wednesday, October 4

A Russian warship fires warning shots at a cargo ship in the Black Sea.

Russia fires on cargo ship in Black Sea.

The vessel, as per Russia’s statement, did not respond to the stop warning.

The ship is shown to be heading towards the Romanian port, as per the Refinitiv data.

A Russian warship fired warning shots at a cargo ship heading north in the southwestern Black Sea on Sunday, marking the first time since Russia’s departure from Ukraine to negotiate re-negotiated ties with the UN to attack merchant shipping.

In July, Russia halted its participation in the Black Sea grain agreement that enabled Ukraine to export agricultural produce through the Mediterranean. It declared that any ships entering Ukrainian waters could be carrying weapons.

The ship’s captain did not respond to a request to stop for an inspection, leading Russia to announce on Sunday that its patrol ship, Vasily Bykov, had fired automatic weapons on the Sukru Okan vessel in Palau.

The ship was reported by Russia to be heading towards the Ukrainian port of Izmail, while Refinitiv shipping data indicated that it was currently anchored near the Bulgarian coast and on its way to the Romanian port Sulina.

According to the Russian defence ministry, automatic weapons initiated a warning fire to stop the vessel.

The ministry reported that a Ka-29 helicopter was utilized by the Russian military to board the vessel.

“The Sukru Okan was on its way to the port of Izmail after the inspection group completed their work,” the defence ministry stated.

Ankara was said to be investigating the incident involving a ship bound for Romania, as reported by an official from the Turkish defence ministry.

The vessel or its owners were unavailable for immediate comment by Reuters.

The incident was described by a senior adviser to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as committing piracy and violating international law in the sea.

On X, the social media site that was once known as Twitter, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser, stated that Ukraine would make all the necessary decisions and select the best possible response.

The Palapa-flagged vessel Sukru Okan is seen in this video transiting the Bosphorus before it enters the Black Sea on August 13, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Zelenskiy’s nightly video address did not contain any details about the incident.

The southern military command spokesperson, Natalia Humeniuk, emphasized that the Russian statement had not been verified by any other official sources. “It is important to pay attention to this and keep in mind the unique features of hybrid warfare,” she said via televised commentary.

She stated that the statement could be a signal to all civilian vessels in the Black Sea, and called for international protection for all transportation and navigation. Additionally, she noted that Russia was trying to assert its right to stop sailor or deploy aircraft in this area without facing any consequences.

What is the significance of the Black Sea conflict?

The act of sailing a merchant ship will intensify the already significant anxieties about the potential risks of being caught in the Black Sea, which serves as the primary route for agricultural products from Ukraine and Russia to the market.

The agricultural products of Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s leading producers, with their significant markets in wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, oil, sunflower seeds, and other oils. Additionally, Russia is a major player in the fertiliser industry.

The withdrawal of Russia from the Black Sea grain deal has led to Moscow and Kyiv launching attacks that have caused concern in global commodity, oil, and shipping markets.

Russia has declared that any ships approaching Ukrainian ports will be considered as potential military vessels, and their flag countries will also be regarded as combatants on the Ukrainian side. Additionally, Ukraine has been targeted by Russia in its strikes on grain facilities along the Danube.

Ukraine retaliated by threatening ships that were approaching Russian or Russian-held Ukrainian ports. They also launched an attack on a Russian oil tanker and armada at its Novorossiysk naval base, which was adjacent to ten-million dollar grain and oil port.

The West and Ukraine argue that Russia’s actions are essentially a de-facto blockade of Ukrainian ports, which could result in the disruption of wheat and sunflower seed exportations to the international markets.

Russia refutes the interpretation and asserts that the West did not enforce a parallel accord that relaxed regulations for its domestic food and fertilizer imports.

The reporting was done by Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow, Ankara’s Huseyin Hayatsever and Dan Peleschuk in Kyiv; Nick Macfie and Diane Craft edited.

The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles are the basis for our standards.

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