Ukraine has issued a warning about Russia’s “atypical activities” in the Black Sea.
During a national broadcast on Thursday, spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Command Natalia Humeniuk said Russia had 20 ships, including missile carriers, and a large number of units of auxiliary fleet ships stationed in the Black Sea.
The Kiev Independent said Russian forces could search for the wreckage of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone that was intercepted by Russian jets and crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday. Russian state media said Moscow will try to recover the wreck.
“We are carefully monitoring the Black Sea naval group and the actions of the enemy. Atypical activity and number of ship groups were recorded,” Humeniuk said. “There are currently 20 units in the Black Sea, including four missile carriers, one of which is underwater; the total salvo consists of 28 missiles that can be equipped for launch.”
Humeniuk said Russian forces were trying “to cover naval operations in the Black Sea as much as possible and to hide their actions from Ukraine.”
Russia’s naval forces have played only a limited role in the Ukraine conflict since Ukraine sank Russia’s Black Sea flagship, the Moscow, with two Neptune rockets last April. Thereafter, reports emerged that Russia had moved its ships farther from Ukraine’s coast, beyond the range of Kiev’s anti-ship missiles. Fears at the beginning of the war about a Russian landing in Odessa on the Ukrainian Black Sea coast were not confirmed.
An obscure 1936 treaty made it difficult for Moscow to replace them Moscow with another ship from outside the Black Sea. NATO member Turkey, which controls access to the Black Sea through the Bosphorus Straits, has enforced the 1936 Montreux Convention, which prevents Russia from externally reinforcing its Black Sea Fleet in times of war.
Humeniuk’s warning of increased Russian naval activity comes after Volodymyr Saldo, who was appointed by the Kremlin to head Ukraine’s southern Kherson region after it was captured by President Vladimir Putin during the war, said on Monday that the Black Sea belongs to Russia becomes.
Bordering two European Union countries – Bulgaria and Romania – as well as Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and Turkey, the Black Sea is of strategic and economic importance for both Moscow and Kiev, mainly because of the transit routes that it offers.
“I want to clap if we’re going to have the Black Sea too,” said Saldo, whom Russia proclaimed “head of the civilian military administration of Kherson” after gaining control of the territory during the first phase of its invasion.
He was addressing a crowd during a competition that local media said was being held for the Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions — the four territories Putin annexed last September.
Saldo added: “We have it, but it will be all ours.”
Tensions are mounting after the crash of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the United States released footage showing the exact moment of the collision.
Russia and the US blame each other for the collision. Russia said the drone approached Russian airspace “deliberately and provocatively,” while the Pentagon said the plane dumped fuel on the drone, which was in international airspace conducting a routine surveillance mission.
news week emailed the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
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