Black Sea Ships: Russia and Ukraine threaten to target ships in Black Sea | World News

A day after Russia declared that all commercial ships heading to Ukrainian ports could be treated as hostile, Ukraine’s ministry of defence responded on Thursday with its own warning, saying that ships heading to Russian ports or ports in occupied Ukraine would be seen as carrying “military cargo, with all the corresponding risks. ”

“By openly threatening civilian ships carrying food from Ukrainian ports, launching missile and drone attacks on civilian infrastructure in peaceful cities, and deliberately creating a military threat on trade routes, the Kremlin has turned the Black Sea into a danger zone for Russian ships,” the ministry said. The tit-for-tat warnings stepped up tensions in the Black Sea, raising fears the war could escalate and severely disrupt commercial shipping, which would wreak havoc on world grain supplies. It comes just days after Russia pulled out of a UN-brokered deal that had allowed Ukrainian grain exports to reach the wider world, easing global food shortages. Russia and Ukraine are both major growers of wheat.
A White House official warned that Russia had also mined the routes into Ukraine’s ports, adding to the complex maze of Ukrainian mines. “We believe that this is a coordinated effort to justify any attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea and lay blame on Ukraine for these attacks,” Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement. Russia’s Black Sea fleet certainly has the ability to sink unarmed commercial ships. Ukraine lacks a functioning navy but has had some success targeting Russian warships with missiles and drones. Last year, its forces sank Russia’sflagship, the Moskva.

Russia’s ministry of defence on Wednesday issued a warning to shipping operators and other nations suggesting that any attempt to bypass the blockade might be seen as an act of war, saying that ships heading to Ukrainian ports would be considered “potential carriers of military cargo. ”
The Black Sea escalation pushed US wheat futures up on Thursday, after they jumped 8. 5% on Wednesday, their fastest single-day rise since the initial days of Russia’s invasion in February last year.

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