Ukraine contends that following the ‘Russian invasion of Crimea’ – the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and its subsequent rejoining with the Russian Federation – that Russia has also taken effective control of the Sea of Azov. There is some merit to this claim – it is impossible for Ukrainian vessels to enter or leave the sea without permission from the Russian navy.
Additionally, Atlanticist political forces at work in Europe have been able to bring in the issue of the Crimean Bridge that Russian firms built in order to connect mainland Russia with the Crimean Peninsula.
The European Parliament (EP) has prepared a draft resolution proposing to tighten anti-Russian sanctions in the event of a worsening situation in the Sea of Azov. The document may be considered at the plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg.
“The EP urges the High Representative for Foreign Policy together with the countries members of the European Union in the Council to make it clear that targeted sanctions against Russia will be strengthened if the conflict in the Sea of Azov aggravates even more, ” RIA Novosti quotes .
The European Parliament welcomed the decision to punish six companies that had to do with the construction of the Crimean Bridge, and also suggested that the European Union create a “special envoy for the Crimea and Donbass” to monitor the actions in the Sea of Azov.
The situation in the Sea of Azov escalated after March 25, Ukraine detained the Russian fishing seiner “Nord” with ten crew members. The documents were seized from the sailors and banned from leaving the pier in Berdyansk. All fishermen were citizens of Russia, but Kiev authorities considered them Ukrainians.
Moscow considered Kiev’s actions “maritime terrorism” and intensified border inspections in its part of the Azov Sea in accordance with international maritime law.
Then the Ukrainian border guards accused Russia of pursuing a “strict policy of detention and inspection of vessels.” Kiev announced its intention to create a naval base in this region and transferred two armored boats, a sea tug and a search and rescue ship.