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Kremlin reacts to Ukraine’s Black Sea threat

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Kiev is notorious for its unpredictability and involvement in terrorist attacks, Dmitry Peskov has claimed

Ukraine’s claim that it will consider all vessels sailing towards Russian Black Sea ports as potentially carrying military supplies is being treated seriously by Moscow, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.

“The unpredictable actions and… the involvement of the Kiev regime in terrorist acts, of course, potentially create a threat in this area,” Peskov told journalists on Friday.

The Ukrainian government “stops at nothing” when attempting to achieve its goals, Peskov said, adding that “such statements obviously carry a direct threat.” 

“The situation is being analyzed. And our relevant agencies will come up with appropriate recommendations in order to minimize the danger [for ships in the Black Sea],” the spokesman added.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry issued a statement on Thursday warning that “from [midnight] on July 21, 2023, all vessels heading in the waters of the Black Sea in the direction of seaports of the Russian Federation… may be considered by Ukraine to be carrying military cargo with all the associated risks.” 

The thinly veiled threat followed Russia’s refusal to extend the Black Sea grain deal, which expired on Monday. The landmark agreement had been signed in July 2022 through mediation by the UN and Türkiye, and created corridors for the safe passage of ships with Ukrainian grain.

Russia explained its decision by arguing that Western promises to lift sanctions on the export of Russian food products and fertilizer as part of the deal were never fulfilled.

On Wednesday, Moscow issued a similar warning for the Black Sea, declaring certain areas in its international waters to be “temporarily unsafe” for vessels. Ships attempting to reach Ukrainian Black Sea ports will be deemed “potential carriers of military cargo” and “taking part in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of the Kiev regime,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

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