A Ukrainian Coast Guard official said that Russian authorities officially denied earlier information that the Azov Sea would be closed to maritime traffic on Feb. 13-19 due to Russian naval exercises.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had earlier said that Russia's planned exercises would fully block the Azov Sea and severely limit the passage in the Black Sea.
The planned naval gunnery exercises, along with land exercises in Belarus, have raised concerns that Russia will use them to initiate a further invasion of Ukraine. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called the situation the biggest security crisis Europe has faced in decades.
U.S. President Joe Biden urged his country's citizens to evacuate Ukraine and to avoid all travel there, as the U.S. will not be able to provide assistance in the event of an escalation.
Observers have pointed out that a blockade would constitute an act of war according to international law.
The status of maritime routes through the Black Sea during the exercises has not yet been confirmed.
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