DIKSIA.COM - The Russian Navy conducted direct fire exercises in the Black Sea on Friday (07/21/2023).
The exercise comes days after the Kremlin announced it would consider ships sailing to Ukraine by water as potential military targets.
“A missile ship from the Moscow Black Sea Fleet conducted a direct launch of an anti-ship cruise missile at a target ship in the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday, as reported by Al Jazeera.
“Ship and air fleets have also taken steps to temporarily isolate areas closed to shipping, and have also taken a number of measures to contain violating ships,” the source said.
The Moscow Times reported that Russia had declared that a cargo ship en route to a Ukrainian port on the Black Sea would be considered a cargo ship for military use.
The Kremlin has also declared an undefined area in the north-west and south-east of the international waters of the Black Sea as a danger zone for the time being.
Moscow also warned of the risks of establishing Black Sea shipping routes without its participation.
In response, Kiev said it was ready to resume grain exports through its southern ports even if Russia pulled out of the deal.
Russian missiles hit the port cities of Odessa and Mykolaiv
According to the RFI, at least two people were killed and more than 20 people were injured after Russia attacked the port cities of Odessa and Mykolaiv in Ukraine with rockets and drones on Wednesday night (07/19/2023).
According to the Ukrainian authorities, in addition to the port infrastructure, Russia also attacked civilian targets, including residential and administrative buildings.
Kiev said 60,000 tons of grain destined for export were destroyed in previous attacks on Odessa.
This prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to accuse Russia of targeting grain shipments.
Russia is known to have bombed ports for three days since announcing on Monday (07/17/2023) that it would not renew its Black Sea Grains Initiative.
The agreement was previously negotiated to allow safe passage of ships carrying Ukrainian grain and other food during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.