Russia warns that all Ukrainian ships will be treated as hostile

(Reuters) – Russia’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that from now on all ships bound for ports in Ukraine would be considered potentially carrying military equipment and therefore at war with Kiev as well as the countries whose flags they fly.

In a statement published on Telegram messaging, the ministry also indicated that part of the international waters of the Black Sea – in the southeast and northwest – had been declared temporarily “dangerous” to navigation, without giving exact geographic details.

The announcement follows Moscow’s decision earlier this week to end the agreement on grain exports through the Black Sea overseen by the United Nations and Turkey to avoid worsening the precarious world food situation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Western countries of “completely distorting” the Black Sea grain deal, while Moscow justified its withdrawal by not honoring commitments related to Russian exports of fertilizer and grain.

Speaking in a televised meeting with senior officials, Vladimir Putin said Russia would “immediately” return to the accord if conditions were met.

(Reporting by Felix Light; French edition edited by Jean Terzien, Nicolas Delamey)

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