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ISW: Russia batters Ukraine's ports to win concessions from the West

by Abbey Fenbert July 21, 2023 7:25 AM 1 min read
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The Russian military is targeting Ukraine's ports in order to escalate tensions around the Black Sea Grain Initiative and exact concessions from the West, the Institute for the Study of War wrote in its July 20 report.

Russian missiles struck the port city of Odesa for three consecutive days following Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement that allows Ukraine to continue exporting critical grain supplies during wartime. Ukrainian officials reported that the ports under attack contain over one million tons of food.  

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed on July 19 that he would rejoin the grain deal under certain conditions, including the removal of economic sanctions and Russia's return to the SWIFT banking system.

The Russian Defense Ministry also announced on July 19 that it would consider any ships in Ukrainian ports to be military targets.

Moscow has punctuated its threats with missile strikes. The repeated attacks on Ukraine's port and grain infrastructure demonstrate Putin's willingness to use global food security as a bargaining chip.

"Prolonged disruptions to grain logistics in Ukraine will likely have increasingly cascading effects on grain supplies, adding to the sense of urgency that the Kremlin hopes to create," the ISW report said.

New US sanctions target Russian mining corporations, suppliers helping Russia evade restrictions
The U.S. government announced a new sweeping set of sanctions on July 20, which aims to target Russia’s war effort. Russian officials and industries, individuals linked to Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Kyrgyz companies have been sanctioned.

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