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Ukraine responds reciprocally to Russian blackmail, will consider “vessels heading to Russian ports as potential carriers of military cargo”

Ukraine responds reciprocally to Russian blackmail, will consider “vessels heading to Russian ports as potential carriers of military cargo”

Ukraine “can consider all vessels heading to Russian ports as carrying military cargo” responding reciprocally to the same Russian blackmail, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement on 20 July 2023. In particular, it said that shipping through the Kerch Strait is banned from 21 July 2023. The statement comes as a response to a similar Russian statement made on 19 July.
As was reported, the Russian Federation said it withdraws from the “grain deal” with Türkiye and the UN on 17 July. According to the deal, Ukraine could safely export grain worldwide using its Odesa seaports. Subsequently, Russia launched several deadly attacks on the Ukrainian city of Odesa and its port facilities at night on 19 and 20 July, damaging grain terminal and destroying more than 60,000 tons of food destined for China.
Finally, on 20 July 2023, the Russian Ministry of Defense made a statement, threatening all ships heading to Ukraine. “All ships sailing in the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports will be considered as potential carriers of military cargo,” the statement said. Also, the Ministry of Defense stated that the countries of the flag of such ships would be considered involved in war on the Ukrainian side.
Reciprocally, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a statement on 20 July:
The Russian Federation has once again brutally violated the universal right to free navigation for the whole world and is deliberately undermining food security, condemning millions of people to starvation,” the statement reads.Openly threatening civilian ships transporting food from Ukrainian ports, launching missile attacks and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in peaceful cities, deliberately creating a military threat on trade routes, the Kremlin has turned the Black Sea into a danger zone, primarily for Russian ships and ships heading to the Black Sea waters in the direction of seaports of the Russian Federation and Ukrainian seaports located on the temporarily occupied territory. The responsibility for all risks lies entirely with the Russian leadership. The fate of the cruiser “Moscow” proves that the Defense Forces of Ukraine have the necessary means to repel Russian aggression at sea. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine warns that from 00:00 on July 21, 2023, all vessels heading in the waters of the Black Sea in the direction of the seaports of the Russian Federation and Ukrainian seaports located on the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia may be considered by Ukraine as carrying military cargo with all the corresponding risks.”
In addition, navigation in the areas of the North-Eastern part of the Black Sea and the Kerch-Yenikal Strait of Ukraine is prohibited as dangerous from 05:00 on July 20, 2023, the statement says. The Ministry says it has sent delivered navigational information for ships.
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