Russian aggression in the Black Sea sparks outrage in Ukraine

Ukraine condemned Russian actions and called for decisive countermeasures by the international community a day after Moscow's warship fired warning shots at a cargo vessel in the Black Sea.
Palau-flagged vessel Sukru Okan transits Bosphorus on its way to the Black Sea in Istanbul, Turkey August 13, 2023 this screen grab from a video.
Palau-flagged vessel Sukru Okan transits Bosphorus on its way to the Black Sea in Istanbul, Turkey August 13, 2023 this screen grab from a video. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik/File Photo

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine on Monday condemned what it called "provocative" Russian actions and called for decisive countermeasures by the international community, a day after Moscow said one of its warships had fired warning shots at a cargo vessel in the Black Sea.

Moscow said in a statement on Sunday that its Vasily Bykov patrol ship fired automatic weapons on the Palau-flagged Sukru Okan vessel after the ship's captain failed to respond to a request to halt for an inspection.

Russia has said it will treat any ships approaching Ukrainian ports as potential military vessels after it left a U.N.-brokered deal last month that allowed the safe passage through the Black Sea of Ukrainian grain.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the provocative actions carried out by the Russian Federation on August 13 in the Black Sea in relation to the Turkish dry cargo vessel 'Sukru Okan,' which was en route to the port of Izmail," the ministry said in a statement.

Kyiv said the incident was a gross violation of international law and "exemplified Russia's deliberate policy of endangering the freedom of navigation and safety of commercial shipping in the Black Sea".

"We express our support and solidarity with Türkiye, our strategic partner, and we call on the international community to take decisive action to prevent Russian Federation’s actions that impede the peaceful passage of vessels through the Black Sea," the ministry said.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Angus MacSwan)

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