A Russian warship fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship it claims was headed to Ukraine in the Black Sea on Sunday, according to Russia’s defense ministry.
Russia pulled out of a UN and Turkish-brokered deal in July that allowed Ukraine to move its grain via the Black Sea and warned that any ships headed to Ukraine would be treated as potentially carrying weapons. Ukraine made a similar threat to ships traveling to Russian ports.
Russia said the warship fired warning shots when the captain of the Palau-flagged dry cargo ship failed to respond to a request to stop for an inspection.
[ Editor’s Note: Russia has considerable flexibility in these types of operations. One or two more and many ships will be prevented from entering the Black Sea by their insurers. In the end, Russia holds most of the cards if NATO is not collectively involved in the fighting. ]