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ISW: Russia’s plan to blockade Black sea will hit dead end

by Daria Bevziuk July 27, 2023 8:14 AM 2 min read
The cargo ship Oceanstar at anchor in the Black Sea on July 23, 2023. (Photo by Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Russia's chances of implementing a Black Sea blockade are slim, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote in its July 26 report.

The report underscores that the Russian fleet is escalating its military presence in the Black Sea, aiming to impose conditions for intercepting and searching civilian ships and enhancing control in the region. The Ukrainian Military Media Center stated that Russian forces "intensified the combat training of surface forces and naval aviation."

Despite this, the ISW thinks that likelihood of the Black Sea Fleet implementing a complete blockade of Ukraine remains low. Enforcing such a blockade would entail Russian forces firing on any ships attempting to reach Ukraine, a move that risks direct military conflict with NATO countries.

The ISW believes that Kremlin will steer clear of this possibility, trying to prevent more direct confrontation.

Russia's current actions in the Black Sea "more likely suggests that Russia is setting conditions to search civilian and commercial vessels while posturing for a blockade as a means of gaining additional leverage," the ISW writes.

Russian state-controlled media reported that Russian forces would consider all vessels proceeding to Ukrainian ports in the waters of the Black Sea as potential carriers of military cargo. This policy went into effect on July 19, after the Russian withdrawal from the Grain Initiative.

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