Oleksandr Turchynov: Russia considers the Azov-Black Sea region as an important springboard for its further expansion
The military-political leadership of the Russian Federation considers the Azov-Black Sea region as an important springboard for its further expansion. This was stated by Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov while staying in the zone of the Joint Forces Operation where he checked the readiness to counter Russian aggression in the south of Ukraine, the organization of coastal defense and protection of the Azov Sea coast.
According to Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine, Russia's buildup of the military presence is combined with "a brutal violation of international maritime law in the Azov Sea, which manifests itself, in particular, in the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge and the growing number of incidents involving the detention of Russian military domestic and foreign vessels". "We see Russia's efforts to actually unleash a military-economic blockade of the Azov coast of Ukraine", - he said.
Mr. Turchynov stressed that the Mariupol direction remains one of the most threatening in the JFO area, and "it is possible that the enemy could conduct both ground and sea landing operations along the Azov coast".
"In the southernmost confrontation zone, a steadily high number of shellings of our positions and military provocations by the Russian-terrorist troops is observed", - he pointed out.
During the meeting with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, the JFO command, the heads of the State Border Guard Service, the National Police and the National Guard, Mr. Turchynov paid significant attention to the issues of strengthening and organization of coastal defense and effective counteraction to land and sea provocations by the Russian Federation.
Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine discussed with the leadership of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the establishment of a ship-boat group in the Azov Sea.
While staying in the Mariupol port, Mr. Turchynov identified with the leadership of the State Border Guard a set of tasks for technical support and strengthening of the marine component in providing reliable protection of the Ukrainian southern border.
Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine visited the forward positions of the Ukrainian military in Shirokino, who for many years had stayed at the epicenter of Russian military provocations and shellings, and discussed with the leadership of the 36th separate marine brigade combat tasks in the protection of the southern flank of the contact line.
According to Oleksandr Turchynov, an adequate counteraction to Russian expansion requires strengthening the naval presence of Ukraine in the region by means of "relocating a part of the ship-boat Navy force, deploying additional watch posts along the coastline and the sea, as well as rapid deployment forces to counter Russian provocations in the Azov region".
"The Ukrainian military servicemen duly fulfill the tasks set before them, reliably protecting the south of Ukraine, and are capable of adequately counteracting the military provocations of the Russian Federation", - Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine summarized.