US condemns Russian plan to block the Black Sea as ‘yet another unprovoked escalation’ amid fears Kremlin will attack Ukraine’s water supply facilities

  • Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months
  • Such a move could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait, on the eastern tip of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014
  • The naval blockade comes as more than 150,000 troops have been deployed along the Ukrainian border
  • Military sources in Kiev last night revealed they were now fearing a Russian assault on water facilities

Washington has condemned the ‘unprovoked escalation’ of Russian plans to block the Black Sea, which could prevent access to Ukrainian ports. 

Russian state media have reported that Moscow intends to close parts of the Black Sea to foreign military and official ships for six months.

Such a move could affect access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which is connected to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait, on the eastern tip of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.null

‘This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Monday.

‘This development is particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop buildup in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine’s borders, now at levels not seen since Russia’s invasion in 2014,’ he added.

The naval blockade comes as more than 150,000 troops have been deployed along the Ukrainian border and in the Crimea where a new military camp was revealed by satellite imagery.

Military sources in Kiev last night revealed they were now fearing a Russian assault on water facilities which provide running water to people living in the south.

Four Russian Ropucha class ships have gathered in the Black Sea, joining more than 15 other warships, in preparation for an attack, The Mirror reported. 

‘Ukrainian military take these ships very seriously,’ an Ukrainian officer told the paper.

‘We estimate one of the Russian scenarios could be an amphibious and air assault from occupied Crimea to seize water supply facilities in south Ukraine to provide water to Crimea.’

The newspaper reported sources as saying the ‘most likely’ attack plan would be a maritime and land assault on southern Ukraine from Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

Poor weather may have delayed any potential land attack by several weeks. 

Following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine cut off much of the water supply to Crimea, creating a dire shortage.   

On Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed there are more than 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border and in Crimea following talks involving Ukraine’s foreign ministry.

‘It is the highest Russian military deployment at Ukrainian borders ever,’ he said, adding: ‘The risk of further escalation, it’s evident.’

Moscow’s military says it is conducting exercises along its frontier in response to moves by Western military alliance NATO that ‘threaten Russia’.

Military analyst Bruce Jones told The Mirror it was ‘extremely rare’ for amphibious assault ships like the Ropuchas – which can offload tanks and thousands of troops – to join other military craft.

‘It is unprecedented for such a large number of landing ships from so many different Russian fleets to assemble.

‘Vessels such as these were deployed during the 2008 invasion of Georgia to great effect and were used to land special forces and commandos.

‘This happened on Georgian beaches and it happened very quickly.’

Jones told the paper that, if not intended for an offensive, gathering such ships together is an ‘extremely costly’ exercise’.  

Ukraine is pushing the West for more practical support as it looks to deter any further aggression from Moscow.

Kiev’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pressed the EU to prepare ‘a new set of sectoral sanctions’ against Russia in talks with his counterparts from the 27-nation bloc on Monday.

But Borrell said that there were currently no further sanctions being proposed or under consideration.  

Observers have also suggested the unannounced build-up could be designed as a test for Joe Biden, as Putin attempts to get the measure of his new counterpart.

Biden has called for the Russian president to ‘de-escalate’ tensions and proposed a summit which could take place in Finland in the coming months.

The move has been hailed as a win by Moscow, after Biden previously took a hard line against Putin – calling him ‘a killer’ and refusing to meet with him on the basis that he was too busy.

As well as seeking support from the US, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has turned to his European allies, last week meeting with France’s President Emanuel Macron in Paris and speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel via videolink.

The pair pledged their backing for Ukraine, but offered little in the way of practical support.

Meanwhile, the UK has offered to send two warships to the Black Sea as a warning to Putin, according to leaked documents, after the US cancelled the deployment of two of its own vessels to the region.

Original article, with photos and illustrations, here:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9489341/Russia-planning-attack-Ukraine-snatch-water-supply-facilities-amid-military-build-up.html

10 comments

  • I have not looked at the comments at the bottom of the original article because I have not the slightest doubt that it is a hate-fest of filthy putinoid trolls.
    The DM and its sister paper the MOS, have become almost an official channel for kremlin lies and disinformation. However, this article is different in tone. I have no doubt that the threat is real.
    We know that the EU and Nato will do nothing. It is up to the Budapest signatories to live up to their obligations NOW. Before it’s too late.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I had a feeling all along they were coming after the water when Biden ran away with his tail between his legs. They even know Putin’s plans and do nothing. Nothing from the UK leadership in 7 years too. Is there no one on earth to stand up and fight for freedom? If Putin succeeds, there is no doubt other despots will try too. Do they think Putin will stop with just the water? Absolutely not. He will connect Transnistria and cut off Ukraine from both seas. Ukraine as we know it will be gone. But, the teacher’s lounge Europeans and American leaders can say they fucking tried and then were surprised when Putin wasn’t afraid of their words. People do not change their spots and Biden allowed him to take Crimea why would he change his spots now? The Bully gets poked in the eye very soon or it will be too late if he is allowed to openly march into Ukraine.

      Liked by 2 people

  • I just looked in the comments section and will reproduce one from a Russian without comment :
    “Alexey Bez Ivanov, krasnodar, Russia.
    In 115 days, military builders built a water intake on the Belbek River in Crimea, which will solve the problem of Sevastopol with water. The water intake started working on March 1, while commissioning works are underway on it. The facility should reach its full capacity of 50 thousand cubic meters per day by the end of this week. RT visited the new facility on the eve of its official opening, which will take place on March 18, when the next anniversary of the reunification of Crimea with Russia will be celebrated.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • They are building a water intake, but where will they get water from? Certainly not the Ukrainian canal, that’s over 150km away. This is just Russian propaganda, and this Bel’bek can hardly be called a river, more like a stream.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The US authorities have known about this problem for years, yet they did nothing to help Ukraine secure itself from Russian aggression.
        My concern is that should putler invade Kherson oblast and the Ukrainians fight back hard, which I would fully expect, then the rodent would open another front; maybe a landing in Odessa oblast.
        Then you have that evil bastard Kiselyov, who openly advocates bombing Ukrainian cities.
        What would Biden do? Advise another surrender?

        Liked by 3 people

        • Let them come to Odesa, it will be their Vietnam. Invading and bombing is one thing, gaining control on the ground is another. The invaders would have to take house by house, facing massive sniper-fire and sabotage on every inch they would be walking on. This includes recruiting psycho killers and cannibals from prison to fight the invaders.

          Liked by 2 people

          • No, don’t let them come to Odessa. Prepare NOW a deterrent force made up of the Budapest signatories. A mass landing in Odessa oblast would be catastrophic for Russia yes, but much worse for Ukraine. I don’t want to see even one more drop of Ukrainian blood wasted on these filthy terrorists.
            Firm and credible deterrence is the only answer.

            Liked by 2 people

            • It seems pretty clear to me what Putin is trying to do. He wants to create another Georgia scenario which he thinks will give him a green light to reopen the waterways to Crimea and take a land corridor to Transnistria.
              If he tries to legitimize his army entering Ukraine then I fear he will use all his forces including tanks, long range missiles and fighter jets. He’s already closed the Black Sea which to me signifies that’s where his move will be. He destroyed Syria and eastern Donbas so it wouldn’t surprise me if he did it again.
              My hope is if he sets ONE FOOT into Ukrainian territory he gets pummeled and bbq’d like he did in eastern Syria.

              Liked by 2 people

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