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Turkey blocks UK minehunters for Ukraine, citing 1936 Montreux pact

Citing an international pact, NATO member Türkiye has blocked the passage of two British Royal Navy minesweepers through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits en route to Ukraine for its war operations against Russia.
File image from 2016 shows HMS Pembrok, a Sandown-class minehunter of the Royal Navy. Via BBC
Turkey blocks UK minehunters for Ukraine, citing 1936 Montreux pact

Türkiye has prevented two UK Royal Navy minehunter ships donated for Ukraine from accessing its waters on their way to the Black Sea, citing a breach of an international pact regarding wartime straits passage, according to Daily Mail.

This move comes after last month’s UK announcement of the transfer of the ships to Ukraine to bolster its naval capabilities in the ongoing war with Russia. Türkiye, a fellow NATO member, has informed allies that it will deny passage through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits as long as the Russo-Ukrainian war persists.

Britain pledged to send the ships to Ukraine last year, and as of last August, Ukrainian sailors were in the UK, training on the vessels as part of a program to possibly transfer up to nine of such ships.

Turkish straits. Map: Daily Mail

Türkiye’s Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits are key Black Sea access points. When Russia started its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Türkiye invoked the 1936 Montreux Convention, barring military vessels except those returning to bases.

Türkiye’s president’s office asserts that Montreux has been impartially and meticulously applied to prevent Black Sea escalation. Ankara maintains positive relations with Kyiv and Moscow, despite its NATO membership during the ongoing war.

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