War in Ukraine: kyiv accuses Russia of hitting civilian boat

The Ukrainian military on Wednesday accused Russia of striking a civilian boat entering one of the ports in the Odessa region in southern Ukraine, killing the captain and injuring four other people. A Russian missile, “fired from an aircraft”, “hit the structure of a civilian ship flying the Liberian flag”, the Southern Command of the Ukrainian army said on Telegram. “Three crew members, Filipino citizens, were injured; one of them was hospitalized. The pilot was killed and another port employee was injured,” he added.

A first incident of its kind

The Ukrainian army has denounced the policy of “terror of civil navigation” carried out in its eyes by Moscow in the Black Sea. This first incident of its kind so close to the Ukrainian coast illustrates the growing tensions in the Black Sea between Ukraine and Russia, reinforced since July and the end of the grain agreement which has allowed the export of Ukrainian grain since the summer of 2022 despite the war.

Since August, Ukraine has set up its own maritime corridor, despite threats from Moscow to target all boats sailing from or to Ukrainian ports. At the end of October, kyiv claimed to have exported 1.3 million tonnes of agricultural products in less than three months. At the same time, the Russian army carried out a sustained campaign of strikes on Ukrainian grain and port infrastructure in August and September, a means of blocking all exports according to kyiv.

kyiv uses explosive drones

Moscow has repeatedly assured, for its part, that it will only hit military targets. Despite its large numerical domination on paper, Russia has seen its control in the Black Sea fray in recent months, under the effect of spectacular Ukrainian attacks, notably using naval explosive drones targeting Russian ships.

In September, Ukraine launched a missile attack on the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol.

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