skip to main content

Ukraine's Black Sea coast blocked by Russian live-firing exercise

The Black Sea Fleet's improved ‘Kilo'-class submarine Rostov-na-Donu makes a northbound transit through Istanbul on 13 February en route to the Black Sea. (Cem Devrim Yaylali)

The Russian Navy has launched missile and naval gunnery exercises that will close off Ukraine's Black Sea coast for six days from 13 February, according to maritime safety notices posted online.

The start of the exercises coincides with growing tension between Moscow and Western countries over Russia's troop buildup around Ukraine.

Russia posted notifications of the live-firing exercises in eight areas of the Black Sea in the International Hydrographic Organization's NAVAREA alert website on 11 February. The original notice posted on 9 February also included the Sea of Azov in the exercise areas, but this was subsequently withdrawn.

The exercise areas are to the west, south, and east of the Crimean peninsula and along Russia's Black Sea coastline, according to the co-ordinates posted online. One of the firing zones stretches from the northwest point of Crimea across to Romanian territorial waters.

The Ukrainian state air traffic service on 13 February warned international airlines to avoid air space over the Black Sea for the duration of the exercises, calling it a “potentially dangerous zone” .

In comments reported by the Black Sea News agency on 12 February, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmitry Kuleba called the Russian exercise a blockade. “We will be in touch with both NATO and Romania in this regard,” he said, adding that he had called on the UN secretary-general and the European Union to begin bilateral consultations with the Black Sea countries to develop joint action in response to the Russian action.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...