Ukraine is not ready for a full-scale military encounter with Russia, but is capable of repelling an attack by sea, as was demonstrated in the recent military exercises, analyst Nikolai Beleskov from the Institute of World Politics told Radio Krym.Realii in an interview.
According to him, the situation in the Kerch Strait started to deteriorate in April 2018, but “significant information work has not been carried out”.
“We did not raise the alarm, did not say, did not speak, because, to a large degree, the responsibility lies with us. Of course, the US was supposed to monitor this situation, independently of what Ukraine says. The first American experts drew attention to this only in July 2018 – which is very telling… On the whole, we effectively lost the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait already in 2014, when Crimea was occupied. Another matter is that Russia has only now decided to utilize this potential for intimidation, to create problems with trade,” Beleskov commented.
Since the second half of April, Russian border guards have started inspecting foreign ships traveling to or from Ukrainian ports. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, by July 16 the number of ships detained by Russian border guards for inspection was 148.
Earlier National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov said that Russia’s military and political leadership sees the Azov-Black Sea region as an important bridgehead for further expansion.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gave orders to convene a session of the NSDC on the situation in the Sea of Azov.
The US has condemned Russia’s inspections of international ships in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, citing this as another example of Moscow’s attempts to destabilize Ukraine.