U.S. urges Russia to cease blocking navigation near Crimea, reverse build-up of forces along Ukraine's border

U.S. urges Russia to cease blocking navigation near Crimea, reverse build-up of forces along Ukraine's border

The United States calls on Russia to cease blocking navigation near occupied Crimea and reverse its build-up of forces along Ukraine's border.

"The United States expresses its deep concern over Russia's plans to block foreign naval ships and state vessels in parts of the Black Sea, including near occupied Crimea and the Kerch Strait," U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a press statement on April 19, 2021. [Now that has Putin shaking in his little KGB boots! How can the Kremlin stand up to such a powerful American rebuke? Good grief, save us. Isn’t it about time as a colleague suggests to ban such meaningless terms from international diplomacy - “Express deep concern" "We find this unacceptable” “This development is very troubling" “There will be consequences" -they embarrass the government using them, or should. RAM]

He stressed Russia has a history of taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding access to Ukraine's ports in the Sea of Azov, impacting Ukraine's international commerce. [Did he say anything about the consequences Russia has suffered – or not suffered – as a result? RAM]

"This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow's ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine. This development is particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop build-up in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine's borders, now at levels not seen since Russia's invasion in 2014, and other provocative actions by Russia-led forces at the Line of Contact," he said. [“Credible reports”!!! RAM]

According to Price, the United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.

"The United States does not, and will never, recognize Russia's purported annexation of Crimea," he said.

Also, the U.S. commends Ukraine for its continued restraint in the face of Russian provocations, he said.

"We call on Russia to cease its harassment of vessels in the region and reverse its build-up of forces along Ukraine's border and in occupied Crimea," Price added.

Restricted navigation in Black Sea: What is known

  • On April 15, 2021, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry voiced protest to the Russian Federation over restrictions of navigation in the Black Sea amid the transfer of warships from the Caspian Sea.
  • Ukrainian diplomats urge international partners to step up political and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation to prevent the escalation of the situation in the Azov-Black Sea region. "The Russian Federation announced that it would close from next week to October some part of the Black Sea waters in the direction of the Kerch Strait for warships and state ships of other countries under the pretext of military exercises. Such actions by Russia are another attempt to violate the norms and principles of international law, usurp Ukraine's sovereign rights as a coastal state, since it is Ukraine that is authorized to regulate navigation in that part of the Black Sea," the Ukrainian ministry said in a statement.
  • The European Union has called on Russia to ensure freedom of navigation from the Black Sea the Sea of Azov.

[OK, Ukrainian diplomats urge international partners – maybe squishy partners – to step up political and diplomatic pressure. But, Ukraine and the United States need to remember Putin does not limit his aggression, it is comprehensive. Likewise, the West needs to respond with a comprehensive defense – diplomatic, information, military and economic. There is so much more the United States and the West can and should be doing and until they do so and make Putin hurt they might as well stick to “deep concern” and “very troubling”. Putin has had his way for too long. RAM]

Meanwhile Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Has Spoke to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kuleba. They spoke about Russia’s massive troop buildup and Russia’s aggression in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.

The Chairman has scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, April 21) a Committee vote on the Ukraine Security Partnership Act – S. 814

S.814 was introduced in the Senate on March 17th by Senator James Risch (R-ID), Ranking Republican on the Committee on Foreign Relations and co-sponsored by Chairman Menendez (D-NJ), Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Murphy (D-Ct), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

Among other things the bill authorizes up to $300 million per year for foreign military financing to Ukraine (subject to certifications), including lethal assistance; requires a report on American diplomatic support for Ukraine over the next five years; encourages State to establish a working group on Ukraine with relevant European allies; encourages the Administration to appoint a special envoy for Ukraine to serve as a liaison with the Normandy Format and to facilitate dialogue between Black Sea countries and requires the Departments of Defense and State to report on the capability and capacity requirements of Ukraine’s military.

A respectful start for things that need to be done through legislation.

The entire text of the legislation is set out here.


The original article was published by Unian Information Agency. The initial comments and the parenthetical comments are Mr. McConnell's personal comments. They do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation or the FOUN.