Russia’s Decision to Raise Interest Rates Amidst Escalating Ukraine Conflict Sends Shockwaves Through Ruble: Live Coverage

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Cargo ships in the Black Sea off the coast of Romania. Russian forces boarded a commercial vessel in the waterway this weekend.Credit…Andreea Campeanu for The New York Times

Russia’s Ministry of Defense released a video on Tuesday that shows part of a naval operation in which military personnel landed by helicopter on a cargo ship on the Black Sea, in an inspection that Ukraine has condemned as illegal.

Russian Naval Officers Halt Cargo Ship on the Black Sea

The video, the second to emerge since the Sunday episode, has been verified by The New York Times. It appears to have been shot by Russian forces, in part from a head-mounted camera.

Russian Officer Shouts Orders at Crew Members

“Stop machine! Stop machine!’ a Russian officer, machine gun pointed, shouts in English at crew members as he walks through an open door onto the bridge of the cargo ship, the Sukru Okan. “Keep calm and listen to me.”

Crew Members Follow Orders to Sit

  • In the video, three crew members on the bridge stand with their hands on their heads.
  • One crew member presses a button on the ship’s control panel to cut the ship’s engines.
  • The three men drop to their knees and sit as instructed.

Exchange between Russian Officer and Ship’s Captain

“Good day, sir,” the Russian officer says to a man in jeans and a T-shirt, who has identified himself as the ship’s captain. “I am a Russian Navy officer. My actions will be recorded on video.” He orders the captain to speak in English, the main language of international shipping. None of the people shown in the video are identified by name.

The Russian officer then demands to know why the ship had not stopped, pointing at a radio, apparently to indicate that a command to halt had been sent. The captain, speaking in halting English, replies “bad understand.” He appears to be blaming the ship’s chief engineer, who he says has been in the engine room rather than on the bridge, for not complying with his order to halt.

Details and Context

  • Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that its personnel had fired warning shots to get the ship to stop before the navy helicopter landed.
  • The videos provide the only visual evidence of the Russian operation
  • The ship, Sukru Okan, sails under the flag of Palau and is owned and managed by a Turkish company.

Rising Tensions in the Black Sea

The forced inspection is apparently the first since Russia declined last month to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export its grain across the Black Sea. Since then, tensions have risen sharply in the Black Sea, one theater of the war in Ukraine.

Impact on Ukraine’s Grain Export

Russian attacks and pressure on shipping aim to curtail Ukraine’s ability to export its grain and other food crops.

Alexis Ellender, a global analyst at Kpler, a commodities analytics firm, stated that it appeared unlikely that Moscow would restore the Black Sea grain deal. He also mentioned that Sunday’s incident could raise shipping insurance premiums and freight costs.

Current Location of the Sukru Okan

The ship has remained off the coast of the Romanian Danube River port of Sulina for the last 24 hours, according to the Marine Traffic website.

Jenny Gross contributed reporting


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