Mariupol, Ukraine (PortSEurope) February 14, 2022 – We are not going to have a Russian invasion in Ukraine. It already has happened in 2014 with the occupation of Crimea and the then de facto annexation of a quarter of Ukrainian territory, now run by pro-Moscow separatists as break away regions of Donetsk and the Luhansk People’s Republics (both in Ukrainian Donbas). The Ukrainian Sea Ports
Authority (USPA) reported that a letter from the Department of Navigation and Oceanography of the Russia’s Ministry of Defence from February 10 that cancelled the coastal warning blocking access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea by Russia. Russia has previously issued notices warning mariners and aviators to avoid significant portions of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, due to upcoming live-fire naval exercises that started on February 13 and were expected to end on February 19.Six Russian warships moved to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean for naval drills. These amphibious landing ships have a combined capacity of up to 63 main battle tanks and 2,000 troops. The massive cargo capacity will greatly add to Russian capabilities off Ukraine. The new development underlines what Ukrainians kept telling the world in the past month – that the situation in East Ukraine, the Black and the Azov Seas is tense and dangerous, but that there is no threat of an imminent Russian invasion. It looks like that Ukraine’s Azov Sea ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk operate normally albeit with reduced capacity due to lack of import and export cargo. It seems that the constant U.S. warning of an imminent Russian invasion in Ukraine are more of political talk than realistic intelligence assessment. Russian President Vladimir Putin already achieved everything he wanted – he is now seen in Russia as a powerful world leader, who talks directly to the U.S. and the French president. He will talk to the German chancellor. He is seen as someone who made again Russia a force to be reckoned with. Western politicians are also exploiting the crisei for their own benefit, trying to show that they are playing hard ball with Russia and promising even more sanctions, but also clearly stating that NATO is not going to defend Ukraine with troops. Some of the losers from this political theatre are Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, who are already operating at a reduced capacity due to Russia’s behaviour in this small appendix of the Black Sea, As part of an unannounced blockade of the Sea of Azov, Russia increased the holding time of Ukrainian ships using Mariupol (Mariopol) and Berdyansk (Berdiansk) ports. Ukrainian ships carrying exports from Ukraine’s ports on the Azov Sea were delayed for more than one day, according to data from the Monitoring group of the Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies, the Maidan of Foreign Affairs and Black Sea News. The three pro-Ukrainian organisations describe the delays as Russia’s economic war against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov. Russia’s Foreign Ministry claims that the movement of merchant ships through the Kerch Strait (connecting Azov with Black sea), including to Ukrainian ports, is not restricted. All this is happening in the background of Russia’s occupation of Crimea and other Ukrainian territories since 2014 and the problems created by the new Kerch strait bridge (built in 2018 for $3 billion), limiting the size of the ships entering Azov Sea from the Black Sea. The Sea Azov Sea is a body of water enclosed by the Crimean and Taman peninsulas at the Kerch Strait. More PortSEurope news about the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk Copyright (C) PortSEurope. All Rights Reserved. 2021.
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