Sea Of Troubles: Sea of Azov Emerging As 'Tinderbox' In Russia-Ukraine Conflict

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Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:37 am

This thread continued from: Russia enhances its military presence in the Sea of Azov ... =6&t=12190
One recent summer morning, four Ukrainian Sea Guards peered out from a speeding patrol boat nicknamed Little Boy. Bubbly pop hits from the 1990s blared over the hum of the engine propelling them through the choppy swells of the Sea of Azov.

The airy tunes contrast sharply with the rising tension in this sea, stoked, Ukraine says, by its powerful and ever-encroaching foe lurking in the waters: Russia.

Around six nautical miles from the port of Mariupol, a symbol of that new tension came into view: the Ukrainian armed cutter-class ship Lyubomir, bobbing on the waves. From its top deck, one guard trained his eyes on the horizon as another stood rigid behind a heavy machine gun on the lower deck.

No Russian naval or border guard vessels were visible that morning. But both have been increased in recent months, so they were out there somewhere.

"We have to always be ready," said Artem Poliakov, a Sea Guard and the squadron's spokesman.

Back ashore, in and around Mariupol, a crucial industrial port city with a population of around 500,000 that sits roughly 800 kilometers southeast of Kyiv, it has been tense since late in the spring of 2014. Russia-backed separatists briefly controlled it then before the Ukrainian military and its volunteer battalions dislodged them. Today, fighting continues to rage just 24 kilometers to the east, in the once-quiet seaside town of Shyrokyne.

But now tensions are spilling into the sea that washes the 300-kilometer shoreline Ukraine still controls after the annexation of Crimea.

The Sea of Azov, a rich fishing ground in Soviet times that has been of great strategic importance to independent Ukraine, has emerged after months of growing friction as the latest flash point in the four-year conflict between Moscow and Kyiv.

Russia launched the opening salvo here in 2016, with its $3.7 billion Crimean Bridge project to link that occupied Ukrainian peninsula with southern Russia across the Kerch Strait -- the gate to the Azov. The move led to stern condemnation and sanctions from Kyiv and Western governments. The European Union in late July added six more Russian companies involved in the bridge project to its sanctions list.

In March, with the bridge nearing completion, Ukrainian authorities detained a Ukrainian-registered Crimean fishing vessel for illegally sailing under the Russian flag and arrested its captain and crew in the Sea of Azov -- a move one Russian official likened to that of "Somali pirates."

Since then, Russia has stepped up confrontation in and around the Sea of Azov in a big way.
Read alot more here: ... 17753.html

Tensions continue to rise around the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea and will only continue negatively. This coupled with *Crimea's water crisis-
and other factors stated we could possibly see direct conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

*Side note: Medvedev instructed Russian Ministry of Defense to solve the problem of providing Crimea with water. Commission formed from MoD, Rosatom, Russian Academy of Sciences and "interested parties" should submit results of it's work by September 10.
" man fears time, but time fears the pyramids "