(Bloomberg) -- The Russian Defense Ministry said all vessels in the Black Sea heading to Ukrainian ports would be considered potential carriers of military cargo starting Thursday, sending wheat futures soaring.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had said earlier that his country was studying options to get the grain corridor open again, including convoys for ships, according to the Interfax news service. Zelenskiy also said Russia had intentionally attacked grain-deal infrastructure overnight as he ordered his military to boost port defenses and diplomats to step up contacts with partners to continue exports of crops.
In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said “we have information that the Russian military may expand their targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities to include attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea.”
The Biden administration announced $1.3 billion in new military assistance for Ukraine, although the weapons still have to be put under contract and produced so they won’t arrive as soon as materiel drawn from Pentagon stockpiles. The latest package includes four National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, mine-clearing equipment and Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade drones.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be participating in next month’s summit of BRICS leaders in South Africa online rather than in person, resolving a potential dilemma for that country’s authorities over whether to execute an International Criminal Court warrant for his arrest.
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Wheat futures soared as much as 9% in Chicago after Russia issued its warning on the safety of new vessels headed to Ukrainian ports.
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