Statement of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
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.
By 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 vessels heading in the waters of the Black Sea in the direction of seaports of the Russian Federation and Ukrainian seaports located on the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. 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 seaports of the Russian Federation and Ukrainian seaports located on the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia may be considered by Ukraine as such. carrying military cargo with all the associated 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. Relevant navigational information for mariners has already been published.
Comment: I could have alternatively named this post Escalation at Sea. This is a statement issued by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense on 20 July. The words may not have attracted much world attention, but the ensuing sea drone attacks sure did.
The Russians, in reaction to the second bombing of the Kerch Bridge, pulled out of the grain deal and began striking Ukrainian grain facilities in Odesa along with the port facilities at Izmail on the Danube. Ukraine struck back by severely damaging the Olenegorsky Gornyak, a Ropucha class LST just outside the Russian naval port of Novorossiysk. The ship was towed into port listing heavily to port. Only a day later the Ukrainians struck the Russian coastal tanker Sig as it was anchored 30 miles south of the Kerch Bridge.
These strikes are rapidly moving to a complete closure of both the Ukrainian and Russian Black Sea ports to maritime commerce. This will affect a lot more than Ukrainian grain shipments. It could put a halt to Russian shipment of oil, gas and agricultural products. I think Russia will get the short end of this stick.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this. Escalation was bound to pop up somewhere. Russia did not stop or attempt to strike three non-Ukrainian ships headed for Ukrainian ports recently and the Sig is an already sanctioned ship working for the Russian Navy. But I think it’s only a matter of time when a third party commercial vessel is attacked.