A Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship which they claimed heading to Ukraine in the Black Sea on August 13, according to Russia's Defence Ministry. Image: AP
A Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship which it claimed was heading to Ukraine in the Black Sea on August 13, according to Russia's Defence Ministry. This attack comes after Moscow pulled out of a UN and Turkish-brokered deal in July.
The deal has allowed Ukraine to move its grain via the Black Sea and warned that any ships headed to Ukraine would be treated as potentially carrying weapons, reported CNN. Meanwhile, Ukraine has also made a similar threat to ships travelling to Russian ports.
“The Russian warship opened warning fire from automatic small arms fire to forcefully stop the vessel,” read the statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry.
Sharing the details of the matter, Russia said the warship fired after the Palau-flagged dry cargo ship's captain failed to respond to a request to stop for an inspection. Russia's defence ministry has claimed the ship, named Sukra Okan, was headed to the Ukrainian port of Izmail.
The cargo vessel has been docked at the Romanian port of Sulina which is close to Izmail, reported CNN citing the marine traffic websites. “In order to inspect the bulk cargo ship, a Ka-29 helicopter with a group of Russian servicemen was hoisted from the patrol ship Vasily Bykov,” said the ministry. " “Following radio conversations, the ship stopped its course and the boarding team landed on the bulk cargo ship," it added.
"The incident was a clear violation of international law of the sea, an act of piracy and a crime against civilian vessels of a third country in the waters of other states," Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter.
"Ukraine will draw all the necessary conclusions and choose the best possible response," he added.
Meanwhile, Ukrainians have declared that they would be opening a temporary humanitarian corridor for ships to sail to and from its ports and have opened up registration for merchant vessels to use the sea route.
A Ukrainian Navy spokesperson, Dmytro Pletenchuk, said that these temporary routes would help Ukraine to overcome the global food security crisis. He added that it would also allow shipowners and companies to “finally take back their merchant vessels that are in humanitarian captivity due to the constant threats of Russians at sea,” reported CNN.