Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 22 March 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russian Invasion Of Ukraine: Sea Blockade Is Now A Fact
No matter how the Russia-Ukraine war ends, some security issues in the Black Sea have changed irreversibly. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is damaging infrastructure along the entire Black Sea coast and blocks access to shipping routes by deploying mines.
All Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and Azov Sea remain temporarily closed to ships seeking to enter or exit, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on March 21. Russian forces occasionally shell Odesa, a port city on the Black Sea coast. The city of Mariupol also came under artillery fire. After three weeks of the war, Russian forces now have full control of the coast of the Sea of Azov––except for the city of Mariupol––and part of the coast that is west of Ukraine, to Mykolaiv. So the Russians failed to seize a strip of land running from Donbas to Odesa and push Ukrainian soldiers of the sea. Russian forces are blocking access to Ukrainian-controlled sea ports. The near future looks grim for the countries in Africa that depend on the Ukrainian wheat imports. The Panama Maritime Authority reported that the Russian Navy was preventing the departure of some 300 Panama-flagged vessels in the Black Sea. Panama claims to have the largest number of ships registered under its flag. Five ships loaded with grain have vanished from a port in Ukraine, and reports indicate that the vessels and their haul were stolen by Russians. Bulgaria and Romania have warned that military activities in the northwestern Black Sea may pose a threat to other sea routes thank those to Odesa. It is possible that the mines that Ukrainian naval forces had deployed in the Black Sea could drift as far as the territorial waters of Romania. The war is a peril to Black Sea security and trade.
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