This is the kind of news which seems innocent at first, but definitely marks an escalation with regards to the situation in the Black Sea and military blockade of inbound and outbound cargo from Ukraine.
On Sunday, Russia said in a statement that its Vasily Bykov patrol ship had 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 said the vessel was making its way toward the Ukrainian port of Izmail. Refinitiv shipping data showed the ship was currently near the coast of Bulgaria and heading toward the Romanian port of Sulina.
“To forcibly stop the vessel, warning fire was opened from automatic weapons,” the Russian defence ministry said.
The Russian military boarded the vessel with the help of a Ka-29 helicopter, the ministry said.
“After the inspection group completed its work on board, the Sukru Okan continued on its way to the port of Izmail,” the defence ministry said.
Thankfully no one was injured. But this is a warning that the escalation in the current war between Russia and Ukraine might seem to be engaged in a Sitzkrieg for the moment, it could turn red hot without any warning and a much larger conflict than anticipated by the West.
The only reaction thus far is a minor spike in wheat prices on the US futures market: