American Intelligence believes that a large-scale attack by Russia against Ukraine in 2019 is "operationally possible but not likely,” stated Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats during a hearing at the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Voice of America reported.
"We assess that a major offensive by either Ukraine or Russian proxy forces is operationally feasible but unlikely in 2019,” Coats stated. US intelligence services foresee increased tensions in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov instead. "Bilateral tensions will continue to rise in the Black and Azov Seas as each side asserts its sovereignty and naval capabilities.”
The document goes on to note that, "Russia will continue its military, political and economic destabilization campaign against Ukraine to try to stymie Kyiv's efforts to integrate with the EU and strengthen ties to NATO. Russia’s interception of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait and detention of the ships’ sailors in November 2018 demonstrates Russia’s willingness to limit Ukrainian freedom of navigation in the area and exert political pressure on the country’s leadership, particularly in advance of Ukraine’s elections this year.”
In December 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution called “The problem of militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.” Ukraine initiated the project and represented it on behalf of the group of States.
The document urges Russia to stop hindering freedom of navigation in the Black and Azov Seas and Kerch Strait and to stop persecution of merchant vessels. It also condemns the illegal construction of the bridge across the Kerch Strait.