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

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Drumboy44
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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
http://www.defconwarningsystem.com/phpB ... =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:
https://www.rferl.org/a/sea-of-troubles ... 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- https://t.co/SnjU59nJhd?amp=1
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.
https://t.co/PN4L5HxJeV?amp=1
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Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:11 pm

U.S. State Department: "The United States condemns Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, Russia's actions are further examples of its ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine."
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Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:51 am

British Defence Secretary announces Royal Marines to be deployed to the Black Sea near Odessa, and increased Royal Navy patrols in the Black Sea area to counter Russian naval threats to Odessa and it’s economic blockade of Ukraine
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/0 ... ssion=true
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Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:52 pm

Ukrainian Navy ships "Donbas" and "Korets" are heading from Odesa to Berdyansk. This is the first time Ukrainian Navy ships are passing through the Kerch straight after Crimea occupation. As of now both ships have reached the Crimean bridge. Ukraine is developing its Azov fleet.
https://twitter.com/mil_in_ua_en/status ... 75457?s=20
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Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:47 pm

Drumboy44 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:52 pm
Ukrainian Navy ships "Donbas" and "Korets" are heading from Odesa to Berdyansk. This is the first time Ukrainian Navy ships are passing through the Kerch straight after Crimea occupation. As of now both ships have reached the Crimean bridge. Ukraine is developing its Azov fleet.
https://twitter.com/mil_in_ua_en/status ... 75457?s=20
Sad ship's last mission?

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Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:30 am

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has welcomed the passage of Ukrainian warships to the Sea of Azov, noting that the vessels will be part of a new naval base of the Ukrainian fleet in the area.

"These ships will be part of the newly created naval base of the Ukrainian fleet in the Sea of Azov," Poroshenko added. He thanked the crews for the impeccably executed order. As UNIAN reported earlier, on September 20, Ukraine's search and rescue ship A500 Donbas and seagoing tug A830 Korets departed from Odesa to Berdyansk to set up a new naval base of the Ukrainian fleet in the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian small armored artillery boats P177 Kremenchuk and P178 Lubny departed from the port of Berdyansk in the direction of the Kerch crossing, to meet the two vessels.

Today the Ukrainian warships passed the Kerch Strait and entered the Sea of Azov.

https://www.unian.info/m/politics/10271 ... henko.html
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Fri Sep 28, 2018 3:42 am

“The Kremlin is trying to undermine our values, destroy our way of life, and reverse the outcome of the Cold War. Its behavior only increases the risk of miscalculation & the prospect of crisis turning to chaos." - British Defense Secretary

https://t.co/Mv9UeN6Qrp?amp=1
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Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:33 am

Oleksandr Turchynov: Ukraine will adequately respond to any provocations of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov
The Armed Forces of Ukraine are planning to conduct military exercises in the Sea of Azov. This was stated by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov during a joint briefing with Head of the National Security Bureau of the Republic of Poland Pawel Soloch, answering the journalists' questions.

According to him, under the decision of the NSDC of Ukraine, in response to Russia's aggressive policy in the Sea of Azov, "the buildup of our military component is conducted - a ship-boat group of the Naval Forces has been established, the coastal defense and aviation component have been significantly strengthened". "We are ready to respond to any provocations of the Russian side", - he stated.

http://www.rnbo.gov.ua/en/news/3130.html

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Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:59 am

Adm. James Foggo said Friday that “the illegal annexation of Crimea has given the Russian Federation an opportunity to establish more anti-access and area-denial capabilities (in the Black Sea). So S-300, S-400 Bastion weapon systems, anti-ship cruise missiles. They’re pouring more into Kaliningrad and the Baltics, and they’re establishing more robust A2/AD capabilities in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

While these systems haven’t been used yet to try to keep out U.S. or NATO military forces, the Russians have been aggressive in the Sea of Azov. After building a $3.7-billion bridge over the Kerch Strait that connects Russia to Crimea, the Russians have been seeking to keep Ukrainian ships out of the strait and the Sea of Azov on the other side, even though under international maritime law the Sea of Azov is controlled by both Russia and Ukraine.

“Along with the bridge goes the entry point to the Sea of Azov. If you’re keeping up with this lately, there’s been some irresponsible activity in the Sea of Azov in the last couple months, the Ukrainians are not happy about that. The Russians have delayed shipping, held them at sea, unable to enter port, any port, unable to go to sea. This is costing the Ukraine millions of dollars a year and it’s an unfair practice,” Foggo said Friday morning while speaking at an Atlantic Council event.

The admiral said NATO forces would not look to patrol the Sea of Azov, as they have no claim to it, but he said the anti-access practices there make their patrols of the adjoining Black Sea all the more important. The U.S. Navy spends 125 days at sea there, the maximum allowed under maritime law for a nation that does not border the sea, and NATO forces also spent 125 days patrolling the Black Sea.

“This is reassurance for our friends to the east, and we will continue to operate there because the model, the protocol of trying to block the Sea of Azov, will not stand in the Black Sea, and with our friends – the Bulgarians, the Romanians, Georgians, Ukraines and the Turks – we will continue as NATO to operate” in that location.

“Same with the Mediterranean. It’s getting very, very busy in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Foggo continued.
“We saw recently the buildup of several Russian forces and Russian sailors that came out and operated for a month just around Tartus and Latakia (in Syria) because there was ongoing operations and they felt the necessity to flex their muscles. That did not deter us from operating U.S. warships there. It does not deter us from operating U.S. and NATO warships in the Baltic because there’s a buildup in Kaliningrad. It does not deter us from operating in and around the GIUK Gap up north, and the carrier will prove that during Trident Juncture,” he said, referring to an upcoming NATO exercise in Norway featuring more than 45,000 NATO military personnel.
https://news.usni.org/2018/10/09/foggo- ... -behaviors
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