Fearing new Russian threat, Ukraine races to upgrade its navy
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has expressed concern over the past several weeks due to Moscow’s military activity on the Ukrainian border. Blinken stated that he was unaware of Russia’s intentions, however, historical precedent is cause for alarm. Tensions remain high within the region as Ukraine races to upgrade its Navy. Earlier this week, a Ukrainian navy vessel departed from Berdyansk on the Azov coastline. According to Ukraine, the vessel typically comes across several Russian coast guard patrol boats during the trip, however, this time there were none.
The sea the aforementioned vessel patrols borders Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow after a controversial referendum in 2014 considered to be in violation of international law. After seizing Crimea, Russia has linked the region to its own territory via the Kerch Bridge, which stretches over the Kerch Strait. The bridge serves as the only direct connection between the two entities. It also gives Moscow control of the sea’s access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean beyond it. Ukraine’s military buildup is likely designed to keep Moscow from taking complete control over the body of water, which links Ukraine’s two biggest ports. The pace of building a new naval port in Berdyansk will be increased, according to Ukraine’s Defense Minister.