Ukrainian border guards working in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas will be reinforced with Naval Special Forces, said Head of the State Border Service of Ykraine (SBSU) Petro Tsyhykal, reported the press service of the SBSU.
Tsyhykal explained that apart from law enforcement responsibilities, the Border Service’s task is to strengthen efforts in the east of the country in response to Russia’s actions, including in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas.
“I think we will have about a thousand Special Forces personnel by the end of the year. We are strengthening the efforts of the naval Special Forces, and about 270 people will serve in the units in the Azov and Black Seas,” Tsyhykal said. “We should understand that the aggressor, so to say, is not sleeping; he is strengthening his forces and we should give an adequate response,” he added.
This week, the Commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, Serhiy Popko spoke about strengthening the military presence in the Azov Sea. He also explained that the decision was a response to “the aggressive actions of Russia in the Azov Sea.” The Commander specified that the group is strengthening in order “to ensure full control of the situation in the region” and “to ensure a decent defense of the sea coast.”
Kyiv decided to strengthen its forces after disputes with Russia in this region escalated. The situation worsened in March when Ukrainian border guards detained the Crimean-registered ship Nord and accused the crew of violating the Ukrainian border because Kyiv considers the peninsula its “temporarily annexed territory.”