Russia is amassing military equipment in Crimea in order to block off access to it, not only for possible military opponents, but also for humanitarian organizations, international experts and monitoring, said Vadym Chernysh, Ukraine’s Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, in a post on the ministry’s website.
“This is already the fourth missile system in temporarily occupied Crimea, sent in order to control the sea waters and Ukraine’s territory. We are seeing militarization, we are seeing restrictions in access, a military threat, and we know that in any event Russia will influence the movement of ships to the Mariupol and Berdyansk ports,” Chernysh emphasized.
The minister said that Russia has a “powerful physical factor, which it uses for blockading”.
“In military theory, it is a so-called zone which cannot be attacked from the air, from the sea, or from land. This is why Russia is using an expanded military component to restrict access not only for possible enemies in military terms, but also for humanitarian organizations, international experts, monitoring, etc.,” Chernysh observed.
He noted that due to this policy by Russia, Ukraine has been developing alternative logistics for Pryazovia and the eastern territories.
“Soon, an EU mission will visit the eastern territories. Representatives of the European Commission who have already provisionally received projects from Ukraine’s government to improve transport infrastructure, will visit Pryazovia in order to assess how they can help in logistical terms, how best to establish a connection with the eastern regions of our country, in order to compensate for the logistical losses due to the blockading of the ports. Ukraine has already submitted several corresponding projects to enlarge the logistical system – motorway, railway and other compensatory mechanisms,” the official said.
At the end of November 2018, Russia deployed a fourth division of S-400 anti-air missile divisions in temporarily occupied Crimea, close to the border with Ukraine, and announced that the peninsula is now “completely covered” against air attacks.
The first division of S-400 “Triumph” anti-air defense systems was transferred to the armament of the Sevastopol-Feodosia missile guard regiment in 2016. The system became active in the Feodosia region at the start of 2017.
The second division was deployed in January 2018 near Sevastopol.
The third division of S-400 systems became active in September 2018 near Yevpatoria.
The S-400 is a long and intermediate range Russian anti-air missile system, which can take out aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 400 km and ballistic targets at a range of up to 60 km. The system can intercept targets traveling at up to 4.8 km per second.
On Saturday, Russia announced that it was beginning military drills in occupied Crimea, with more than 300 soldiers and 20 units of military equipment.