Ukraine protests against Russia’s restrictions on freedom of navigation in Black Sea

Керченский пролив

Ukraine has expressed its resolute protest against Russia’s restrictions on freedom of navigation in the Black Sea, according to a statement issued by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

According to the statement, Russia has announced the closure from next week to October 2021 of part of the Black Sea in the direction of the Kerch Strait for warships and state vessels of other countries under the pretext of military exercises.

“Such actions by the Russian Federation are another attempt to violate the norms and principles of international law to usurp the sovereign rights of Ukraine as a coastal state, as Ukraine has the right to regulate navigation in these areas of the Black Sea,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry believes that this step is a gross violation of the right to freedom of navigation guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to the convention, Russia must not obstruct or impede transit through an international strait to ports in the Sea of Azov.

“Against the background of the ongoing buildup of its military presence along the border with Ukraine on land, Russia has intensified the escalation at sea. It is transferring warships from the Caspian Sea and strengthening its military capabilities in the Azov-Black Sea region. Despite the absence of any legal grounds it has also decided to close this water area for warships of other states, particularly Ukraine,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

According to diplomats, Russia’s behavior shows that it does not plan to refuse to continue its aggression against Ukraine using military and hybrid methods.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its resolute protest against these actions by the Russian Federation and demands the immediate cancellation of the decision on illegal closure of certain water areas of the Black Sea. We call on international partners to increase their political and diplomatic pressure on the aggressor state in order to cancel the decision to close the water area and stop the escalation in the Azov-Black Sea region,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.