Status: 10.12.2021 9:54 p.m.
According to Ukraine, Russia is said to have closed large parts of the Sea of Azov around the annexed Crimean peninsula for military exercises. At the same time, Moscow is calling for the NATO commitment to Ukraine and Georgia to be withdrawn.
Russia is said to have closed almost 70 percent of the Sea of Azov around the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for military exercises. The Russian fleet is apparently planning target practice in front of the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol, Berdjansk and Henichesk, said Kiev naval forces.
No confirmation from the Russian side
A confirmation from the Russian side was initially not available. The previous day, the Russian border guards accused a ship of the Ukrainian Navy of approaching the Kerch Strait without permission. The leadership in Moscow spoke of a dangerous provocation. Kiev rejected the charge. The ship “Donbass” did not leave its own territorial waters.
The Sea of Azov is a common inland sea between Russia and Ukraine and is only connected to the greater Black Sea by the Kerch Strait.
Ukraine has been at war with Russia since its neighbor first annexed Crimea in 2014 and then supported eastern Ukrainian separatists in Donbass.
Most recently, tensions between Russia and the West in the Ukraine conflict had intensified significantly. Given a massive Russian troop deployment on the border with Ukraine, there are fears that Moscow could attack the neighboring country. The Russian government denies having any such plans.
Russia calls for the withdrawal of NATO commitments
Russia is now demanding that NATO withdraw its long-term membership pledges to Ukraine and Georgia. In addition, the military alliance should undertake not to station any weapons in the states bordering Russia that could endanger Russian security, it said in a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejected the request. The alliance’s stance on Ukraine remains unchanged, he said. Every nation has the right to go its own way:
We cannot accept that Russia is trying to restore a system in which great powers like Russia have spheres of influence over which they are in control and can decide what other members do.
Putin held a virtual summit with his US colleague Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Close cooperation with the west
Accession to NATO by Ukraine and Georgia is currently not an option in the short or medium term. Ukraine in particular cooperates closely with the West, especially with the USA.
Washington has promised to support the Ukrainian military, emaciated by the war against pro-Russian militias in the east of the country, with a good 2.5 billion dollars.