Former Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister: Kyiv has to prepare for a blockade of the Kerch Strait by Russia

Following the detention of Ukrainian vessels in the Sea of Azov, Ihor Kabanenko, Ukraine’s former Deputy Minister of Defense and Admiral of Reserve, called on Kyiv to patrol the sea, escort the Ukrainian ships, and prepare for Russia to blockade the Kerch Strait. In his interview with Obozrevatel news outlet, Kabanenko suggested that patrols could be provided by U.S. Island-class patrol boats, which have yet to be delivered to Ukraine. Kabanenko stated that during the escort of military convoys, any detention or inspection by the aggressor will be qualified as an “attack.”

Kabanenko stated: “Any measures to detain or inspect convoy ships will be considered an attack on a military convoy—that is, it will be considered an act of aggression, and will trigger the corresponding rights and duties of warships to repel it.”

According to Kabanenko, military convoys “may not be needed, but under certain conditions, this may be the only way to ensure the safety of sea traffic” between the Black and Azov Seas.

The Admiral urged border guards to prepare for various “negative scenarios,” including potential blockade of the the Kerch Strait to the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk.

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine previously sent Russia a note of protest due to the detention of the Ukrainian fishing vessel YAMK-0041 in the waters of the Black Sea. The vessel had a port of registration in Ochakov, which was allegedly used for illegal fishing of flounder in the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation. All five crew members were subsequently taken to Crimea.

  Kerch Strait, Russia, Azov Sea