Ukraine may appeal to the UN Security Council or NATO to request an escort of its vessels in the Sea of Azov, due to a suspected “Russian blockade”, a Kiev regime minister has claimed.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, between 29 April and 9 July, Russia detained 93 Ukrainian ships that were crossing the Straits of Kerch towards Ukraine, between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The Russian border and coast guards claimed inspection without specifying the reasons.
As a result, the owners suffered losses because their ships were idle. However, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Olena Zerkal, said that Russian border guard officers acted according to the protocol.
“In theory, we have two possible solutions: the first is to appeal to the UN Security Council for a sea escort, and the second, which is less likely in my view, is to request NATO forces to conduct escort at the sea of Azov,” said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, George Tuka for local TV.
In July, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said that Kiev was negotiating with Western countries new sanctions against Russian seaports in the Black Sea in retaliation for the alleged ‘Russian blockade.’
As Ukraine fears the military and economic blockade of the Azov coast, it wants to strengthen its naval presence in the Sea of Azov, reports the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine after the visit of its secretary, Aleksandr Turchinov, to the Donbass. To recall, it is Turchinov who originally launched the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in 2014 which subsequently developed into the war in Donbass, soon to enter its fifth year.
It is reported that Turchinov visited the area of the Ukrainian United Forces Operation in Donbass (the mission that replaced the ATO), where he verified the readiness of the Ukrainian military for combat operations.
Turchinov noted that in the area of the United Forces Operation of Ukraine, Mariupol remains one of the most dangerous areas where, according to him, it is possible for “land and sea attack operations along the Azov coast”.
Kiev’s complaints of Russian “interference” and “blockade” in the Sea of Azov has been called hypocritical by Russian experts. In particular, one of Russia’s leading experts on Ukraine and FRN’s own guest analyst, Eduard Popov, has called Ukraine a “pirate state” for Kiev’s repeated harassment and even detainment of Russian civilian and commercial vessels in the area.
In fact, it was Ukraine’s own State Border Service spokesman, Oleg Slobodyan, who stated plainly in an interview in April: “Ukraine will detain all vessels entering and leaving the ports of Crimea without Kiev’s consent.”