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Seven merchant vessels inspected in Azov Sea by Russian FSB

Seven merchant vessels inspected in Azov Sea by Russian FSB

10 July 2018

Seven merchant vessels headed for Ukrainian ports were
stopped for inspection in the Azov Sea by the Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB) on July 8 and 9, the State Border Service confirmed on July 9. The
inspections were legally conducted and the vessels were allowed to travel to
their destinations in the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdiansk, the
spokesman told the pravda.com.ua news site. The Border Service know of these
reviews, documents them and transfers the information to law enforcement
bodies, he said.

 

The morning of July, Deputy Parliamentary Speaker
Oksana Syroyid made an alarming statement before reporters at a parliamentary
meeting that the vessels were arrested as part of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“This threat only means the military aggression is growing. This is a
prolongation of the war,” she said.

 

To clarify the situation, the border service spokesman
said “any of the sides can freely travel throughout the sea basin and inspect
those vessels that are suspicious or for other reasons. It’s another matter
that Russia now uses this inspection of vessels as an element of political and
economic pressure against Ukraine. But it is not arresting these ships.”

 

Zenon Zawada: Russia’s
latest campaign of aggression against Ukraine is targeting the Azov Sea, which
it desires to control despite Ukrainian maritime rights to access it. Recall in
June, Russia repositioned five military vessels
to its ports on the Azov Sea, which now include those situated in Crimea. While
these latest inspections were considered legitimate by the Border State
Service, we expect more pressure and accusations of violations.

 

Syroyid’s alarming statements reveal that Ukrainian
politicians will use the current war, and public fears surrounding the war, to
gain votes during the election campaign. It also reveals that Ukraine’s
pro-Western political forces are competing fiercely, rather than uniting for
the campaign, given Syroyid harshly criticized the president in her remarks.

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