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Russian drills in Black Sea have rendered shipping ‘virtually impossible’, says Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: The Russian Navy's large landing ship Pyotr Morgunov sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Black Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer/File Photo

On Thursday, Ukraine slammed Russian naval manoeuvres off its southern coast, claiming that the warships’ presence was part of a hybrid war that rendered navigation in the Black Sea and Azov Sea nearly impossible.

The news: Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Russia’s actions “display blatant disrespect for the laws and principles of international law,” and that Kyiv will plan a response in collaboration with partner countries.

  • “Such aggressive actions by the Russian Federation as part of its hybrid war against Ukraine are unacceptable,” the statement said. “This is a significant and unjustified complication of international shipping, especially trade, which can cause complex economic and social consequences, especially for the ports of Ukraine.”
  • This month, Moscow is holding naval drills in the Black Sea and ground drills in Belarus, north of Ukraine, as part of a show of force that the West believes could be a preparation to an invasion, which Moscow rejects.
  • Six Russian warships have landed in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, which Moscow captured from Ukraine in 2014. Moscow made no immediate response to Ukraine’s accusations.

Ukraine has long accused Russia of attempting to suffocate trade through de facto blockades at its southern ports. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of steel, grain, and sunflower oil, with ports in Odessa, Pivdeny, Chornomorsk, Kherson, Mariupol, and Berdyansk on the Black and Azov Seas.

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