Ukraine to speed up construction of naval base at Berdyansk, sees Russian threat to shipping

In a statement Ukraine said, it aims to speed up the construction of a naval base at the port of Berdyansk to prevent a gradual Russian attempt to take control of the Sea of ​​Azov that flows past Crimea.

Earlier last week Western countries had warned of Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s borders.

Moscow has dismissed accusations of its potential attack on Ukraine saying Washington was making aggressive moves in the Black Sea where it held military drills with Ukraine last Saturday.

In a statement Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said, it was important for Ukraine to strengthen its naval forces.

“The corresponding instructions will be given to accelerate the construction of the naval base,” said Reznikov in a statement.

Ukraine lost its military bases on the Crimean peninsula, after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. In 2018, it announced plans to build a new base in Berdyansk.

Since then, Russia has taken de facto control of the Kerch Strait, which provides a passage from the Black Sea to the Sea of ​​Azov, where two large Ukrainian ports are located.

In a statement Reznikov said, Russian actions in the Azov and Black Seas had escalated security risks and created systemic threats to shipping.

“Following the occupation of Crimea and parts of (eastern Ukraine), Russia is trying to de facto occupy the Sea of Azov as well,” said Reznikov. In the past Moscow has denied allegation that it wants to take control of the Sea of Azov.

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