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Washington accuses Moscow of planning to strike civilian ships to implicate Kiev

The White House said on Wednesday that Russia is studying the possibility of launching attacks against civilian cargo ships carrying Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, and then accusing Ukrainian forces of carrying out these attacks.

“The Russian military may expand its targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities to include attacks against civilian cargo ships,” and “then accuse Ukraine of carrying out these attacks,” Adam Hodge, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, told AFP.

US National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge

Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Moscow will consider all sailing ships To Ukrainian ports are potential carriers of military shipments, and that countries whose flags are flying to Ukrainian ports will be considered parties to the conflict alongside Ukraine.

The move follows Russia’s decision this week Withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Export Agreement brokered by the United Nations, and has ensured the security of Ukrainian exports over the past year.

“With regard to the cessation of the Black Sea initiative and the end of the sea humanitarian corridor, as of 00.00 Moscow time on July 20, 2023 (21:00 GMT Wednesday), all ships sailing to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea waters will be considered potential carriers of military cargo,” the ministry said in a statement posted on the Telegram app.

She added that Russia also declares the southeastern and northwestern parts of the international waters in the Black Sea temporarily unsafe for navigation, without providing details regarding the parts of the sea that will be affected.

It ended on July 17th Black Sea Beans Agreement Which was mediated by Turkey and the United Nations and aimed at facilitating Russian and Ukrainian agricultural exports, after Russia refused to extend its participation in it.

Moscow complains about the lack of implementation of a parallel agreement to ease the rules for Russia’s exports of foodstuffs and fertilizers. Kiev is demanding security guarantees to allow navigation to resume without Russia’s participation.

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