A closely watched basin. The Russian–Ukrainian tensions in the Sea of Azov Cover Image

A closely watched basin. The Russian–Ukrainian tensions in the Sea of Azov
A closely watched basin. The Russian–Ukrainian tensions in the Sea of Azov

Author(s): Krzysztof Nieczypor
Subject(s): Politics, Governance, Geopolitics
Published by: Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia
Keywords: Russian–Ukrainian tensions; Sea of Azov
Summary/Abstract: The construction and opening in May 2018 of the Crimean Bridge, which connects the territory of the Russian Federation with the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula, has contributed to a worsening of Russian–Ukrainian relations in the Sea of Azov. Since April 2018, Russians have halted merchant ships sailing through the Strait of Kerch, which is greatly limiting the operation of Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. Russia’s actions are affecting Ukraine’s economy in that they make the export of goods that account for a major portion of Ukraine’s state budget revenue increasingly difficult. According to estimates by the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, total financial losses due to shipping limitations stand at US$ 20–40 million annually.Russia’s activity in the Sea of Azov and in the Strait of Kerch seems to confirm Moscow’s ambitions to make this basin a fully Russian-controlled internal area. Increased concentration of the Russian armed forces near the Crimean Bridge proves that this piece of infrastructure is of strategic importance for the Russian Federation. Access to the Sea of Azov and control of the ships sailing through the Strait of Kerch enables Russia to exert economic blackmail on Ukraine. The measures Russia has launched are of a permanent nature and are also intended to exacerbate Ukraine’s difficult economic situation. In this way, the Russian leadership is trying to influence the public mood in the southern part of the Donbas (which is controlled by Kyiv) to persuade the local residents that any further confrontation with Russia would be senseless.

  • Page Count: 5
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: English