Turkey has warned Moscow to avoid further escalations after a Turkish-owned cargo vessel was attacked by the Russian navy last weekend, France 24 reported on Thursday citing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.
“After the (Russian) intervention, our interlocutors in the Russian Federation were warned appropriately to avoid such attempts, which escalate tensions in the Black Sea,” the Turkish presidency said, breaking a days-long silence over the incident.
Meanwhile, a civilian cargo vessel sailing from Ukraine reached Turkish waters on Thursday after moving along a western route that avoided international waters in favor of those controlled by NATO members Romania and Bulgaria, France 24 reported.
The Hong Kong-flagged Joseph Schulte left the port of Odesa on Wednesday- the first vessel to directly challenge Russia’s bid to block Ukraine’s ability to export via the Black Sea.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the ship was using a”new humanitarian corridor” that Kyiv established after Russia last month scuppered an agreement that had allowed Ukraine to export grain and foodstuffs.
Joseph Schulte’s mission came days after the Russian navy fired warning shots and boarded a small Turkish-crewed cargo ship that was traveling to the Ukrainian port of Izmail, France 24 reported.
Notably, Russia has stepped up attacks on the Ukrainian Black Sea and Danube River port infrastructure since pulling out of the UN and Turkey-mediated grain deal.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russian forces launched a drone attack and damaged a port on the Danube River in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region overnight, CNN reported on Wednesday citing a Ukrainian official.
In the Telegram, head of the Odesa regional military administration Oleh Kiper said, “The main target is port and grain infrastructure in the south of the region” on the Danube.
Earlier in July, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain initiative, an agreement that had permitted Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports a year ago, despite the war, to help alleviate a global food crisis. (ANI)
Meanwhile, last week, a Ukrainian naval drone carrying 450 kilograms of TNT struck the Russian Navy base at Novorossiisk in the Black Sea, causing extensive damage to a Russian warship docked there.