By Athena Papakosta

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Ukraine will retaliate against Russia in the Black Sea so that its ports are not blocked again and exports of grain and other goods continue as normal. In particular, he said: “If Russia continues to occupy the Black Sea, beyond its territorial waters, imposing blockades or opening fire against us, Ukraine will do the same. This is a justified defense of our acquis, regardless of the (safe) corridor(…). We don’t have that many ships. But they (the Russians) should understand that by the end of the war they will not have any ships left. None.”

Over the weekend, Ukraine declared the waters around six Russian Black Sea ports “war danger zones”. The warning applies to the ports of Anapa, Novorossiysk, Gelendzhik, Tuapse, Sochi and Taman. It was preceded by strikes by Ukrainian unmanned surface vessels, rigged with explosives, against a Russian warship and a tanker as well as repeated strikes by the Russian armed forces against Ukrainian port infrastructure.

As Politico explains, declaring war on Russian shipping would send insurance costs skyrocketing and could prove disastrous for one of Russia’s main export routes for oil and petroleum products that provide the Kremlin with enough liquidity to Moscow can continue the war in Ukraine.

The economic adviser to Ukraine’s president, Oleg Ustenko, insisted on Monday that “any Russian move in the Black Sea is a military target,” noting that the move is retaliation for Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain agreement. of the Sea brokered by the United Nations, and the targeting of agricultural facilities and warehouses and ports. He added that, “this story began with Russia blocking the grain corridor, threatening to attack our ships and destroy our ports. Our maritime infrastructure is under constant attack.”

What, at the same time, analysts are noticing is the fact that not only is the 18-month-long war in Ukraine moving into areas and zones that were previously in the no-fire zone, but that both sides are adamant and confident that , in the end, they will dominate.

In Saudi Arabia, talks on the Ukraine peace plan have been completed. China and India also participated in them, but not Russia, which was not invited. In fact, for his part, the vice-president of the Security Council of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, emphasized that “negotiations are not needed yet. The enemy must be crawling on his knees, begging for mercy.”

At the same time, the United States makes it clear that “there are no ongoing peace talks with Russia at this time because Russia has refused to engage in meaningful, full negotiations” while stressing that “if ever there are peace talks, Ukraine will be the one to lead them.” non-Russian side”.