Russian Navy conducts fire drills in Black Sea as threats to shipping escalate Ship’s crew

From Bloomberg News (Bloomberg) —

The Russian Navy said it held a live ammunition fire drill in the Black Sea after exchanging threats with Ukraine in which both sides warned they could attack any ships sailing to each other’s ports.

The exercise at a sea-northwest training ground followed the collapse this week of a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain through secure corridors. Since then, verbal threats between Moscow and Kyiv have escalated, raising the risk of war for global commodity markets and pushing wheat prices toward a weekly gain of more than 10% amid supply concerns.

During the exercise, a ship fired cruise missiles at a target ship and destroyed it, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on its Telegram channel on Friday.

The Russian Navy and Air Force “also practiced isolating an area temporarily closed to navigation and implemented a variety of measures to detain a violating ship,” it said. It was not exactly clear when the training had taken place.

Russia has attacked Ukrainian grain stores and warned that all ships calling at Ukrainian ports would be considered potential carriers of military supplies as it denounced the deal. On Thursday, Ukraine announced that no ships would call at Russian ports They may be military targets in a backlash.

Rising tensions over vital Black Sea trade are raising the risk of turmoil in world markets for everything from oil to staple foods to fertilizers. Russia’s attack on its neighbor has already severely impacted exports from Ukraine, a major producer of grains and vegetable oils.

Ukraine has previously attacked Russian ships in the Black Sea, sinking the flagship cruiser Moskva with a Neptune anti-ship missile shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

It also sank a Landing Ship and damaged another in Berdyansk port in March 2022, and Ukrainian missiles reached Russia’s main supply line to Crimea, the Kerch Strait Bridge.

However, it is not immediately clear whether the escalating verbal threats against ships this week will actually be acted upon.

With no operational navy in Kiev, it has used surface drones in attacks on Russian naval ships, mostly foiled by cannon fire.

And while Russia’s defensive capabilities in the northern Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov are substantial, Moscow didn’t specify in its original warning what it would do about ships attempting to enter Ukrainian ports.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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