Russia sends dozens of military vessels to Azov Sea

Russia has transferred roughly 40 military boats and two small missile ships to the Sea of Azov. This was reported by Vadym Skybytsky, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, in a Channel 5 broadcast.

“The problem is that, at the start of the war, we were unable to completely agree on a border. This border is not in the Azov sea, or the Kerch Strait. Secondly, extremely active operations began in May 2018. Today, according to our military intelligence data, roughly 40 military boats are being taken by Russia into the waters of the Sea of Azov. They have entered it. They weren’t previously in such numbers. These are both FSB boats and military boats. Even two small missile ships were redeployed from the Caspian Sea into the Sea of Azov, this was a show of force,” Skybytsky said, commenting on the “maneuvers” performed by the Russians in the Sea of Azov.

According to the spokesperson, Russia now actively monitors everything going on in the Sea of Azov.

“Secondly, today they have taken complete control over the sea routes of all civilian maritime traffic proceeding to our ports in Berdyansk and Mariupol through the Kerch strait. In addition, they have begun to monitor very actively everything taking place in the Sea of Azov and the entire coastal zone of the Sea of Azov… The number of ships subjected to inspection by Russia is increasing. Now there is another threatening situation. Say, a ship has come out of Mariupol. It goes to the Kerch strait and waits for three days until it is let under the Kerch bridge. That’s okay if the cargo is long-lasting, but if it is another kind of cargo altogether, time will pass and civil companies will stop using our ports,” Sybytsky explained.
He also added that Ukraine may consider the option of having civilian vessels escorted by Ukraine’s Border Guard Service.

When asked about the threat of a Russian attack from the Sea of Azov, Skybytsky responded that such a threat undoubtedly exists, but this would not be in the near future, since Russia does not have the necessary forces there to mount a large-scale attack at present.

“The threat exists, but today, according to our assessments, there are not yet enough watercraft there to carry out a large-scale operation,” observed the intelligence directorate representative.

As reported previously, Russian military boats from the Black Sea Fleet took control of the “Boyko rigs”. The Russian operation also involved anti-submarine vessels with a round-the-clock watch.

  Azov Sea, Russia, Ukraine