Russian and Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a war that has mostly been focused on land. However, the Black Sea region has now become a flashpoint. Both sides are heating up their rhetoric and threatening to expand the scope of their attacks.
Russia has taken steps that many fear will threaten global food supplies. On Monday, it pulled out of a deal that allowed Ukrainians to export their grain. On Wednesday, it warned that any ship headed to Ukraine would be considered a potential military target.
Ukraine has responded in kind. Defense officials say all ships sailing from Russian-held ports may be subject to attack. They warned that the vessels may meet the same fate as the Russian navy's flagship, the Moskva. The cruiser was sunk in April 2022, shortly after the beginning of the war.
Residents of the Ukrainian port city of Odesa and others have already been bearing the brunt of the fighting. They have faced attacks on grain terminals, warehouses and other infrastructure.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday the strikes destroyed agricultural products that were destined for China, which has maintained ties with Moscow. He added that everyone is affected by what he called Russian "terror."
On Thursday, regional officials reported that Russian troops have damaged a Chinese consular building. They say it shows that the forces are engaged in indiscriminate attacks.