Saturday 24 April 2021
Reason not given
Russia still wants to block the sea areas
The next few months will become more difficult for foreign navies for Ukraine’s ports: Russia wants to live up to its declaration and block sea areas in the Black Sea. Only Russian regional waters are affected, it is said to be from Moscow. The European Union, Ukraine and NATO criticized the project as provocative.
With immediate effect, Russia intends to block several maritime zones in the Black Sea near the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which was incorporated in 2014. West criticizes the approach. Foreign warships and other state ships are no longer allowed to pass through these waters until 31 October, but cargo ships can, the Defense Ministry said in Moscow. It is said that the area from Krimi city of Sevastopol to Gurzuf is affected.
Shipping through the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Azov Sea, should not be impaired. The Strait is considered an international body of water. In November 2018, two Ukrainian military ships were intercepted by the Russian Coast Guard from attempting to pass there and 24 Ukrainian sailors were arrested. They were not released until 2020.
West sees violation of international law
The announced bandhs were criticized from the European Union, Ukraine and NATO. A spokesman for the European Union’s Commission for External Relations, Peter Steno, called on Russia to stop the project. It is about “further violations of international law” and to further destabilize the region, Russian state agency Tasso’s Steno said. There is concern in the West that the rights of passage contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea may be restricted and international shipping may be obstructed. NATO called on Russia to guarantee free access to Ukrainian ports and freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Russia of “rising to the sea”. Moscow stressed that the affected areas were located in Russian territorial waters. However, Russia’s claim to the territories has not been recognized. One reason for the closure was not initially given.
In the last few days, Russian troops performed maneuvers in Crimea. Russian, but Ukrainian troop marches recently raised international concerns that fighting could escalate again in the conflict zone of eastern Ukraine. On Friday, according to official information, Russia began withdrawing troops that had migrated to Crimea. Ukraine welcomed it.
For nearly seven years, parts of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk along the Russian border have been controlled by rebels loyal to Moscow. According to UN estimates, more than 13,000 people have died since the conflict in 2014. A peace plan has been agreed in 2015.
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