The U.S. expresses deep concern over the plans of Russia to block the movement of foreign warships and state vessels in the Black Sea, including near Kerch Strait as the U.S. State Department reported.
“Russia has a history of taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding access to Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov, impacting Ukraine’s international commerce. This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine,” the message said.
Such events raise the alarm of Washington amid credible reports of Russian troop build-up in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine’s borders, which reached an unprecedented level since Russia’s invasion in 2014.
The U.S. urges Russia to stop the harassment of vessels in the region and reverse the build-up of forces along the border with Ukraine and occupied Crimea.
It is not the first U.S. urge to Russia to stop the blocking of navigation in the Black Sea.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense called on Russia to stop what it said was the harassment of vessels in the region and reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine.
Soon, two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine.
On April 18, it was reported that British warships would sail for the Black Sea in May amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.