The Russian Federation has a significant military advantage over Ukraine in the Sea of Azov. And in case of an invasion, it will use this advantage to put pressure on the southern cities of Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said in a commentary to The Washington Post.

“In terms of security, the Sea of Azov is dominated by Russia. And in case of war, it will be heavily used by them to put pressure on our southern cities on the Azov shore,” the Minister said.

He added that “Russia dictates the situation in the Azov and basically uses it as a war theater.”

At the same time, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov confirmed that the Azov was “a very difficult spot” for Ukraine in terms of a possible Russian invasion.

However, the official warned that any attempt to invade Ukraine through the sea would be countered by Ukraine’s arsenal of Neptune anti-ship missiles. The first division of this missile complex will soon be on combat duty.

Recently, Russia announced the withdrawal of a small part of the forces concentrated near the Ukrainian borders back inland. The Southern Military District of the Russian Army is returning 10,000 troops to their places of permanent deployment after a month of “field training” held in the occupied Crimea and the Rostov region.

Meanwhile, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s military-technical response in the event of the U.S. and NATO refusing to consider Russian proposals in the security sphere could be different, and the corresponding proposals would be prepared by military experts. He also added that the Russian Federation would strive to achieve a legally binding result in negotiations with the Alliance.

As a reminder, according to some media outlets, the NATO-Russia Council may meet on 12 January. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation confirmed that it had received the proposal, but said that it was still being “studied” and the format and dates of the meeting “needed to be clarified.” This meeting may be the first one in the last 2.5 years.

Bohdan Marusyak

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