The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday released footage of an alleged inspection by a Russian group of the Sukru Okan bulk carrier, which was stopped by the Black Sea Fleet patrol ship Vasily Bykov on August 13. On that day, the Russian Ministry of Defense itself disseminated information about the check in the Black Sea of a dry cargo ship under the flag of Palau, which was heading to the Ukrainian port of Izmail.
“The video shows a flight by a Russian Ka-29 helicopter of the Sukra Okan dry cargo ship that did not comply with the requirements to stop, the moments of landing a group of Russian servicemen on the ship, checking documentation and carrying out inspection activities in the ship’s premises to check for the presence of prohibited goods,” the text says. , which accompanies the entry posted by the defense department. It is also noted that, following the results of the inspection, a protocol was drawn up, after which the ship continued to move to Izmail.
On the recording, the crew members of the ship, on board which the Russian military with weapons land, are shown on their knees and with their hands behind their heads. The military in English ask the captain why he did not stop the cargo ship. With the help of a colleague who translates into English, the captain replies that he “misunderstood”.
On August 13, it was reported that a Russian patrol ship opened warning fire on Sunday morning, demanding that the cargo ship Sukru Okan stop moving. The shots were allegedly fired after the cargo ship’s crew failed to respond to a demand to stop.
The Ukrainian authorities, commenting on the incident, called the actions of the Russian side “blatant disregard for the rights of the Black Sea states to free navigation and peaceful passage of their ships through the territorial sea of coastal countries.” Kyiv called on the international community to respond to the situation.
This is the first time that a commercial vessel has been shelled outside Ukrainian ports since Russia withdrew from the grain agreement, which guaranteed the unhindered export of agricultural products from Ukraine by sea, the BBC Russian Service notes.
A spokesman for the Turkish company that owns the bulk carrier said the ship was empty at the time of the inspection. According to him, the cargo ship was heading to the Ukrainian port for grain, Meduza writes.
The Russian military has previously stated that after the closure of the grain corridor on July 17, they will consider merchant ships going to Ukrainian ports as military targets. The grain deal, under which food is exported from the Black Sea ports blocked by Russia, was concluded in July last year with the assistance of Turkey and the UN. The agreement has been extended several times. The last time was May 17th. Russia claims that the part of the deal concerning the export of Russian food and fertilizers was not carried out. Moscow emphasizes that it is ready to return to the agreement as soon as all its interests are taken into account.