Image by NP2014
Позиции РЛС ПВО и ВМФ РФ у Керченского моста
Ukraine has announced it will once again attempt to send naval vessels through the Kerch Strait that separates the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea and is controlled by the Russian Federation. The action will surely raise tensions higher in the region after Russia fired upon, boarded, and seized three Ukrainian ships in the most recent military incident between the two belligerent powers. Kyiv accuses Russia of keeping up its naval blockade of Ukrainian shipping in the area. The Ukrainian sailors captured are set to go on trial in Russia for illegally violating Russian borders. The West, including U.S. President Trump has demanded Russia return the ships and crew to Ukraine. Trump cancelled a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent G-20 summit in Argentina.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak told reporters on Friday that his country intends to send naval ships through the Kerch Strait soon, saying that “otherwise Russia will fully occupy the Sea of Azov,” reported ABC News. More than 140 ships were stuck on both sides of the strait on Friday due to excessive checks and delays on the Russian side, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service said, accusing Russia of creating a bottleneck for Ukrainian ships and preventing them from passing.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas suggested the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) send monitors into the Sea of Azov to help keep the peace on the body of water. Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov shrugged off the idea, saying there was no need, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
“OSCE could play a certain role in monitoring [the Sea of Azov],” the German Federal Foreign Office quoted the minister as saying.
“I think that the Ukrainian side would consider this rational. The Russian side, on the contrary, is very, very skeptical,” the minister told the DPA news agency.
The American Defense Department stated it would not employ a military response to the Kerch Strait incident.