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Ukrainian Coast Guard: Russia confirms it will not block Azov Sea traffic for exercises

February 11, 2022 2:20 pmby Sergiy Slipchenko
A screen grab captured from a video shows the more than 20 Russian navy ships started a military drill in the Black Sea, in Russia on January 26, 2022. (Getty Images)

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.

Sergiy Slipchenko
Author: Sergiy Slipchenko

Sergiy Slipchenko is a staff writer at the Kyiv Independent. He studied at York University in Toronto, Canada and worked as a reporter at the Kyiv Post.

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