Ukraine’s foreign ministry on Thursday condemned a warning by Russia that any ships travelling to Ukrainian Black Sea ports will be seen as possibly carrying military cargoes.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns any threats to use force against civilian ships, regardless of their flag,” it said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday it would deem all ships travelling to Ukraine to be potentially carrying military cargo and “the flag countries of such ships will be considered parties to the Ukrainian conflict”.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said: “The intention to consider foreign ships as military targets grossly violates Russia’s obligations under international law not only to Ukraine but also to all countries engaged in peaceful shipping in the Black Sea.”
It added that Russia’s statement had no legitimate military purpose, but was aimed at intimidating Ukraine and neutral states.