Russian Federation Restricts Freedom of Navigation in Black Sea

Russian warships

Russia announced the closure of part of the Black Sea areas towards the Kerch Strait for warships and state vessels of other countries from next week to October 2021 under the pretext of military exercises.

“Such actions of the Russian Federation are another attempt, in violation of the norms and principles of international law, to usurp the sovereign rights of Ukraine as a coastal state because Ukraine has a right to regulate navigation in these areas of the Black Sea,” reads the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The Ministry also considers this step a gross violation of the right to freedom of navigation guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to the Convention, the Russian Federation must not obstruct or impede transit through the international strait towards the ports in the Sea of ​​Azov.

“Against the background of the continuing build-up of its military presence along the border with Ukraine on land, Russia has intensified its escalation at sea. It redeploys warships from the Caspian Sea and strengthens its military potential in the Azov-Black Sea region, and, despite the lack of legal grounds, decided to close this area to warships of other countries, including Ukraine,” the diplomats emphasised.

The behaviour of the Russian side testifies to lack of any intention on its part to abandon the aggression against Ukraine using military and hybrid methods.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the actions of the Russian Federation and demands immediate cancellation of the decision on illegal closure of certain water areas of the Black Sea.

“We call on international partners to step up political and diplomatic pressure on the aggressor state to make it cancel the decision on closure of water areas and stop the escalation in the Azov-Black Sea region,” the Foreign Ministry informed.

Natalia Tolub

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