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Russia closes the Black Sea near Crimea for six months | Crimea News

Ukraine and the EU condemn Russia’s decision to restrict the movements of foreign military ships and officials.

According to a Russian news agency, Russia will restrict the movement of foreign military ships and officials in areas of the Black Sea until October, according to Russian news agency, prompting Ukraine and the European Union to speed up. judgment.

Announcements on Friday come amidst the stresses between Moscow and Kyiv has escalated in recent weeks after increasing fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia has its military focus along Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders and on the Crimean peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. This week Russia also conducted naval exercises in the Black Sea.

State news agency RIA Novosti, citing the Ministry of Defense, said: “From 9 p.m. on April 24 to 9 p.m. on October 31, the passage of Russian Federation’s territorial sea for foreign military ships and Other state ships will be halted for claims as stated on Friday.

The restrictions would affect the western tip of Crimea, the peninsula’s southern coastline from Sevastopol to Hurzuf, and a “rectangle” off the Kerch peninsula near Opuksky Nature Reserve.

A senior EU official described the move as a “very worrying development”.

The official told AFP news agency.

Increased stress

The official said the restrictions would increase tensions because Russia was “taking unilateral measures in an international space”.

One of the regions affected by Russian restrictions is located near the Kerch Strait, connecting the Black Sea with the Sea of ​​Azov and is of vital importance for the export of grain and steel from Ukraine.

The Kerch Strait became the scene of confrontation in 2018 after Russia seized three Ukrainian ships there for allegedly violating its territorial sea.

Ukraine was free to cross the Kerch Strait with Russia until 2014, when Moscow declared complete control of the waterway after it annexed Crimea.

The Kerch Strait is also home to an expensive 19-kilometer (12-mile) bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland, which Moscow opened in 2018.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized the maritime restrictions, originally reported without specifics earlier this week, as “an appropriation of sovereignty rights by Ukraine”.

It also emphasized that according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, “Russia must not obstruct or suspend transit through international strait to ports in the Sea of ​​Azov.”



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