The Russian Ministry of Defense showed footage of the inspection by the Russian military of the Shukryu Okan dry cargo ship, which was heading to the Ukrainian port of Izmail in the Odessa region and was stopped on August 13 by the Vasily Bykov patrol ship of the Black Sea Fleet.
The video begins with a Ka-29 helicopter flying over the ship, then a group of Russian servicemen board the ship. The agency reports that the military “checked the documentation” and carried out “screening activities”, all this “was carried out professionally, in accordance with the requirements of international documents.” After the “inspection”, the Russian military drew up a report, and the ship continued to move to the port of Izmail.
On the footage after the flight of the aircraft, you can see a man in military uniform and people kneeling on the deck with their hands behind their heads. Then the military with weapons run into the wheelhouse and kneel the crew members who are there. The captain is asked why he did not stop the cargo ship. With the help of a colleague helping with the translation, the captain replies that he “misunderstood”.
According to the tracking service Marine Traffic, after the inspection, the ship changed the port of destination and followed to Romania. A cargo ship flying the flag of Palau left the port of Chalkis in Greece. A spokesman for the company that owns the bulk carrier told CNN that the ship was empty at the time of the inspection. It followed in Ishmael for grain.
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.
The Russian military has previously stated that after the closure of the grain corridor, they will consider merchant ships going to Ukrainian ports as military targets. The BBC Russian service notes that this is the first case of shelling of a commercial vessel outside Ukrainian ports since Russia withdrew from the grain agreement.
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, in response to Russia’s withdrawal from the “grain deal”, announced that all ships arriving at the ports of Russia and the occupied territories would be considered as military targets.