Kiev : Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told The Washington Post that Russia dominates the Sea of Azov and could use it as a theater of military operations. At the same time, the minister is sure that Moscow must be constantly contained, otherwise it will threaten not only Ukraine, but also the European Union. MK experts appreciated the minister’s words and how Kiev is preparing for the Russian invasion.
In August 2021, Kuleba already said that the Sea of Azov was lost to Ukraine. Moreover, he predicted that Kiev would also lose the Black Sea if Russia continued to concentrate its armed forces in Crimea. In this regard, Kuleba called on the West for new joint efforts in the region, which, on the one hand, will be aimed at demilitarizing Crimea, and on the other, at building up Ukraine’s military power.
Kiev has been moving in this direction for a long time. For example, in 2020, the Ukrainian authorities purchased 52 warships from the UK, including 5 corvettes, 8 missile boats, 39 patrol boats. In December 2021, in cooperation with Great Britain, two naval bases began to be built in Berdyansk and Ochakov.
At the same time, in the spring and winter of 2021, Western countries accused Russia of concentrating their troops near the Ukrainian border, which, in their opinion, could indicate Moscow’s aggressive plans. In turn, the Russian authorities accused Kiev of concentrating troops in Donbass, which, in their opinion, could prove the impending attack on the DPR and LPR. However, in both cases, nothing of the kind happened.
Despite this, State Duma Deputy Mikhail Delyagin is confident that in February or March 2022, Ukraine may no longer attack Donetsk and Lugansk, but Russia. Among the goals of Kiev, according to the politician, may be Crimea, Rostov-on-Don, Belgorod and Bryansk.
“Today Ukraine, in fact, does not have a navy in the Sea of Azov, except for boats. Moreover, when Kiev sent its fleet there through the Kerch Strait, it ended with their detention and a loud scandal. In this regard, there is a rational kernel in Kuleba’s speech, its essence boils down to pedaling Ukraine in the world information agenda, and not to changing the balance of power in the region. Nevertheless, given the difficult relations between Russia and Ukraine, new provocations are possible in the Sea of Azov.
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For example, citing weather conditions, Moscow may prohibit Ukrainian ships from passing through the Kerch Strait. To avoid this, Kiev is actually doing nothing, except that the other day the Ministry of Defense decided to distribute military cards to the majority of women, ”Kirill Molchanov, deputy head of the Institute of Ukrainian Politics, told MK.
In turn, the head of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation, Konstantin Bondarenko, believes that the current Ukrainian authorities do not form their own vision of Ukraine’s future at all. “Official Kiev in this matter adheres exactly to the opinion that is shared by official London and Washington. If they say that Ukraine is on the verge of war with Russia, then we readily agree with this.
This winter was the only case since 2014 when the Ukrainian authorities violated this rule. The Americans said that Russia was concentrating its troops on the Ukrainian border, while the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said it was not observing anything like this. Several days passed, and the scouts “saw”. Apparently, someone knocked them on the head, ”Bondarenko believes.
According to the political scientist, the West is trying to turn Ukraine into “anti-Russia” and into its outpost on the eastern borders. At the same time, Ukrainian interests are not taken into account in this context. “For example, bases in Ochakov and Berdyansk are being built with the participation of Great Britain. This is not done as part of a humanitarian mission, but in order for the British military to gain a foothold in Ukraine. Since the Constitution of Ukraine prohibits the construction of foreign military bases, it was decided to build bases for joint use. In the future, they will be used as triggers to destabilize the situation in Russia, ”Bondarenko concluded.