Russia Is Violating the Montreux Convention with Civilian Ships

Featured in US Naval Institute

War in Ukraine


Russia withdrew its cooperation from the U.N.’s Black Sea Grain Initiative in July ostensibly on the premise that Ukraine might use civilian vessels to transport Western weaponry into the conflict zone something Russia has been doing so since the early days of the war, as the case of the commercial ship Sparta IV illustrates. Several months into the Ukrainian counteroffensive and after the Wagner mutiny, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative following a second successful Ukrainian attack on the Kerch Bridge. Despite the mainstream narrative about the land-centric nature of the conflict, the Black Sea is one of the most strategic areas of the war.