Russia reverses decision to block off parts of Azov Sea for naval exercises

11 February 2022, 01:27 PM

Russia has reversed its decision to block off parts of the Sea of Azov for holding naval exercises, BlackSeaNews Editor-in-Chief Andrii Klymenko said in a post on Facebook late on Feb. 10. 

State Border Guard Service of Ukraine confirmed Klymenko's information in an official statement on Feb. 11.

The other announced no-go zones in the Black Sea are still presumed to be in effect.

Andrii Klymenko/Facebook
Photo: Andrii Klymenko/Facebook

On Feb. 9, the Russian military issued warnings that it would be conducting missile and gunnery firing exercises in the Black and Azov Seas, blocking off large portions of both, including to commercial traffic, from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19.

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Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in turn strongly protested against Russia’s decision to block off parts of the Black and Azov Seas and the Kerch Strait under the pretext of holding naval exercises.

“At 16:43 on Feb. 10, Russian Defense Ministry’s Department of Navigation and Oceanography announced that the restrictions in the Azov Sea region north of the Kerch Strait had been cancelled,” wrote Klymenko.

Klymenko speculated that UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is on a visit to Moscow, could have influenced Russia’s decision, adding that it may also be preparations for some new maneuver.

The Russia authorities have not commented on their decision at time of publication.

Currently, there are approximately 140,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories.

According to U.S. government sources, the number of Russian battalion tactical groups surrounding Ukraine has increased from 60 to 84 over the last two weeks, with further 14 in transit.

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