Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry protests against Russia’s move to block access to parts of Black and Azov Seas

10 February 2022, 03:40 PM

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has 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, the ministry said in a statement on Feb. 10.

The Russian military issued warnings that it was conducting missile and gunnery firing exercises on Feb. 9, and stated that the blocked areas would be unavailable to all traffic from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, including commercial traffic.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that “unprecedented coverage of maneuvers makes navigation in both seas virtually impossible.”

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“In essence, this is a significant and unjustified complication of international shipping, particularly for trade, which can cause complex economic and social consequences, especially for the ports of Ukraine,” the statement says.

A map shows areas of the Black and Azov Seas Russia to close for military drills on Feb.13 (Фото: BlackSeaNews)
A map shows areas of the Black and Azov Seas Russia to close for military drills on Feb.13 / Photo: BlackSeaNews

The Ministry believes that these sorts of actions signal Russian aggression and fit into the Russian concept of its hybrid war against the country.

“This is a manifestation of open disregard for the norms and principles of international law, including the UN Charter, UN General Assembly resolutions and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Ministry announced, adding that Ukraine is closely working with the partners, primarily those of the Black Sea region, to ensure that these Russian actions “receive a proper assessment and response.”

Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Russian amphibious assault ships would be moving to the Black Sea, allegedly to engage in military drills “to defend Russia’s national interests” and “counteract military threats.” According to expert data, Russia is sending six large amphibious assault ships to the Black Sea.

In early February, Russia also moved patrol boats closer to the Sea of Azov.

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