Russia ups the stakes in the Black Sea

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Amid rising tensions, Russia sends more warships to the Black Sea.

In the latest development in a large-scale military build up in the Crimea, Russia has dispatched two more warships to the Black Sea, reports Reuters. The move comes just days after announcing a closure of the strategic Kerch Strait.

Tensions are high in the region and the US has cancelled the deployment of the USS Roosevelt and the USS Donald Cook to the region, but the Royal Navy is said to still be sending a Type 45 destroyer and a Type 23 frigate to the Black Sea in May.

Reuters says the Russian vessels will include two Ropucha-class tank landing-ships from Russi’s Northern Fleet, and two more tank landing-ships are expected soon.

Russia ordered the closure of the Kirch Strait to all transits by military or government vessels of other nations, effective immediately until October 2021. The move will cut off Eastern Ukraine’s access to the sea.

Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs said: “Such actions of the Russian Federation are yet another attempt, in violation of the norms and principles of international law, to usurp the sovereign rights of Ukraine as a coastal state. Also, this step is a gross violation of the right to freedom of navigation, guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

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