Occupied territories in Ukraine and near its western border. Map base: Google Maps, map: Euromaidan Press
Admiral Serhiy Hayduk, commander of the Ukrainian Navy, says that Russia is seeking to provoke revolts in Mariupol and Berdyansk by blocking shipping to them on the Sea of Azov and thus creating increasingly difficult conditions for those employed in those ports.
Some 5,000 people are employed in these ports, the admiral continues, and if there is no ship traffic, they will rapidly lose their jobs. Russia is interested in promoting that outcome because it hopes to be able to exploit any social and economic unrest to spread Russian control along the western sides of the Sea of Azov.
There are even indications that pro-Moscow forces may be doing more than just wait for economic problems to become political ones. Over the weekend, “unknown persons” attacked a concert in Mariupol “beating up both the musicians and the fans.”
Given how tense the situation is there, only 10 kilometers from the Russia-occupied territories of the Donbas region, it is entirely possible that someone came from there in order to sow confusion and chaos in the Ukrainian port city, although Russian media sources like Spektr.Press insist that no one has yet been able to identify the attackers.
But of course, if this was an FSB operation, that is exactly how things would play out: agents would cross the border, do their work, and then retreat back to where they had come from, with Russia’s media providing cover by highlighting the failure of Ukrainian police to bring the perpetrators to justice, something that would also contribute to what Moscow appears to want.
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- Kyiv must denounce 2004 Azov Sea accord with Russia now, Ohryzko says
- Is Russia preparing to attack Mariupol by blockading Ukrainian Azov Sea ports?
- Moscow boosting tensions in Sea of Azov but can’t change strategic situation there, senior Ukrainian intelligence officer says
- Kyiv will resist any Russian naval attack on Azov littoral despite imbalance of forces
- Moscow blocking maritime shipping to Ukrainian ports on Sea of Azov
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Tags: Berdyansk, Donbas war (2014-present), FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service), international, Mariupol, Military analysis, Russia, Russian aggression, Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russo-Ukrainian War (2014-present), Sea of Azov, Ukrainian Navy