Ukraine’s naval base, which is to be set in the Sea of Azov by the end of the year in Berdyansk (Zaporizhia region), will counter mine threat, as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Navy Andriy Ryzhenko told Hromadske.
“The main task of the base is to protect the ports of the Azov Sea and provide security of shipping, which means carrying out anti-mine measures. It’s a priority direction of the development of the naval forces,” he said.
He notes that the ships of Ukrainian border guards repeatedly suffer from the sea mines.
“It is due to the current status of the inland waters that allows the opponent to use such weapons without restriction,” he added.
It was also reported that the Ukrainian Navy in the Sea of Azov has two artillery-armored boats. They are equipped with modern sonars allowing to disarm the mines safely.
According to the agreement of 2003, the Sea of Azov is an internal sea of two states where civil and military vessels under the flags of Ukraine and the Russian Federation can freely enter through the strait and go to their ports.
Over the past three months, Russia's activity in the Azov Sea has increased significantly. The Russians do not allow commercial vessels going to and leaving Ukrainian ports to pass through the Kerch Strait without hindrance. In this regard, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed the Minister of Defense, the Chief of the General Staff and the Ukrainian Navy to take measures to stop Russian provocations with regard to blocking the entry of ships into Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine has developed a set of measures in response to Russia's actions. At the same time, it was reported that the package of measures includes, among other things, restrictions on passenger traffic with Russia.
Moreover, in July, Russia detained 148 ships for inspection in the Sea of Azov. Due to this, President Poroshenko entrusted the Defence Minister, the Head of the General Staff, and Command of Ukraine’s Naval Forces to take measures to stop Russian provocations concerning the blockade of Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov.
Ukraine also supports the imposition of sanctions against Russian Black Sea ports due to the blockade of the Sea of Azov.