Starting from July 20, 2023, Russia will view all vessels bound for Ukrainian ports as military objects — carriers of military cargo, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
The countries that the ships sailing in the Black Sea will represent as per the flags that they fly, will automatically become parties to the conflict, the ministry added.
Such a decision was made against the backdrop of the termination of the grain deal and the curtailment of the maritime humanitarian corridor, the Defence Ministry explained.
Here is the statement that appears on the official Telegram channel of the Russian Defence Ministry:
"In connection with the termination of the Black Sea Initiative and the curtailment of the maritime humanitarian corridor, starting from 00:00 Moscow time on July 20, 2023, all ships en route to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea will be considered as potential carriers of military cargo.
"Accordingly, the flag countries of such ships will be considered involved in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of the Kyiv regime.
"In addition, a number of sea areas in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the international waters of the Black Sea have been declared temporarily dangerous for navigation. Relevant warnings about the withdrawal of safety guarantees to seafarers have been issued in due manner."
The grain deal was an agreement on the export of food from the territory of Ukraine, which involved the export of Ukrainian grain, food and fertilisers across the Black Sea from three ports. As part of the agreement, Russia committed itself not to attack those ports and Ukrainian ships escorting cargo ships.
The document was signed by Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the UN on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul. On July 17, after the attack on the Crimean bridge, Moscow announced its withdrawal from the agreement.
This is particularly vital to understand since Kiev recently chose to escalate the conflict once more by using Storm Shadow missiles provided by the UK to attack the Russian Fleet at Sevastopol of Crimea