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UK says Russia targeted civilian cargo ship in Black Sea

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 11, 2023 11:52 PM 2 min read
A ship moored in the Black Sea port of Odesa within the framework of the grain corridor, on Feb. 20, 2023, southern Ukraine. (Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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The Russian military targeted a civilian cargo ship in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa on Aug. 24, the U.K. Foreign Office said, citing newly obtained intelligence.

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down all Russian missiles heading towards the port, which included two Kalibr missiles launched from a Black Sea Fleet carrier, according to the report.

The intelligence reportedly shows that Russia’s intended target was a Liberian-flagged ship docked in the port.

“Despite its failure, this is a clear demonstration of Russia’s continuing attempts to choke Ukraine’s economy and President Putin’s disregard for the lives of civilians and the interests of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” London added.

UK planes guard Ukrainian grain ships in Black Sea
The U.K. has been sending Royal Air Force (RAF) planes to protect Black Sea vessels carrying grain shipments from Ukraine, a Downing Street press release disclosed on Sept. 7.

Since the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in mid-July, Russia has repeatedly targeted Ukraine's agricultural infrastructure, ports, and grain stockpiles.

According to the U.K. Foreign Office, the attacks have already destroyed 280,000 tonnes of grain — more than the total amount Russia promised to donate to African countries and enough to feed over one million people for a year.

"Putin is trying to win a war he will not win, and these attacks show just how desperate he is,” U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said. “In targeting cargo ships and Ukrainian infrastructure, Russia is hurting the rest of the world.”

The grain deal, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, previously allowed Ukraine to export its agricultural products worldwide amid the ongoing Russian full-scale invasion.

Kuleba: Russia’s demands for relaunching grain deal are ‘blackmail’
The Black Sea Grain Initiative “must be restored,” but not at the expense of accepting blackmail, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told journalists on Sept. 4.
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