Russia warned on Wednesday that starting on July 20, it would consider all ships in the Black Sea heading to Ukrainian ports as carrying military cargo now that the grain deal has been terminated.
“Given that the Black Sea initiative has come to an end and the maritime humanitarian corridor has been terminated, all ships going across the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports will be considered potential carriers of military-purpose cargoes, starting from 12:00 am Moscow time on July 20, 2023,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
According to TASS, the ministry said it would consider the flag states of ships traveling to Ukraine as a party to the conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea could continue without Russia’s participation in the deal, but the Russian warning will likely scare shipping companies away.
Russia also announced Wednesday that it launched a second day of strikes against the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odesa. Russia said the missile and drone strikes hit military targets and fuel infrastructure, while Ukrainian officials said the Russian bombardment hit grain infrastructure. Russia ramped up strikes after the Ukrainian attack on the Crimean Bridge.
“Russian terrorists deliberately targeted the grain deal infrastructure, and every Russian missile is a blow not only to Ukraine, but to everyone in the world who wants a normal and safe life,” Zelensky said.