Since Russia withdrew from the grain deal in July, Moscow has intensified its attacks on Ukrainian port infrastructure in the Black Sea. These sanctions are intended to harm Ukraine’s ability to export resources vital to its economy, especially grain and iron.
Late on Wednesday, November 8, the Ukrainian Southern Military Command said on Telegram that Moscow “launched an X-31P anti-radar missile towards one of the ports in the Odessa region from a tactical aircraft in the Black Sea.”1.
- This would amount to Cmax rulera merchant ship flying the Liberian flag, docked in the port of Bivdini, located on the Black Sea between Odessa and Mykolaiv2.
- The toll announced by the Odessa District Prosecutor’s Office indicates that one person was killed and four injured, including three Filipinos who were working on the ship.3.
- This will be the first Russian attack against a civilian ship. Although it was certainly unintentional as the intended target was most likely the port, Moscow never took this step to avoid further escalation in the Black Sea.4.
The main fear is that this attack will discourage international shipowners from visiting Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. In order to circumvent the Russian blockade, Kiev created a new sea route that passes through the territorial waters of Romania and Bulgaria – two NATO member states – with the aim of deterring possible attacks.
- Even when the Ukrainian Grain Agreement entered into force, Ukrainian exports through the Black Sea were much lower than in the pre-war period.
- This attack, although unprecedented, is not surprising given the threats made by Russia in recent months regarding commercial movement in the Black Sea.5.
- In July, the Ukrainian National Border Guard Service said it had intercepted a communication between Russia and a civilian ship sailing near a Ukrainian port. This warned against “transferring any shipment to Ukraine” which the Russian side might consider as a potential delivery of military equipment.6.
According to the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Bridget A. Brink, 53 ships passed through the Black Sea Humanitarian Corridor as of October 29, carrying more than two million tons of Ukrainian agricultural products and other goods.7. At a G7 meeting held in Tokyo on the same day of the attack, the group’s foreign ministers expressed their “regret over Russia’s systematic targeting of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and civilian infrastructure.”8.
- Telegram message from the Military Command of Southern UkraineNovember 8, 2023.
- ” Ukraine says a Russian missile hit a civilian ship in the Black Sea, killing one person “, ReutersNovember 9, 2023.
- The missile is implemented by the Russian Federation, which can be used for practical training port in Odeo Port in 3 places of the Red Sea port – direct flightOdessa Regional Prosecutor’s Office, November 8, 2023.
- Constant Mihot Ukraine accuses Russia of launching a deadly attack on a civilian ship in a Black Sea port “, New York timesNovember 8, 2023.
- ” The war in Ukraine threatens to spill across the Black Sea “, The EconomistOctober 5, 2023.
- ” Ukraine says Russia threatens civilian ships in the Black Sea “, ReutersJuly 28, 2023.
- Posted on X (Twitter) by Bridget A. BrinkOctober 29, 2023.
- Statement of G7 Foreign Ministers in Japan 2023, 8 November 2023, Tokyo.