Ukraine conducts United Efforts 2021 exercises in the Black Sea. Kiev accuses Moscow of violating the use of airspace in the region, and President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks of the need for an additional build-up of NATO forces near Crimea. Gazeta.Ru investigated what such activity in Kiev could lead to.
The command of the Ukrainian Air Force accused the Russian reconnaissance aircraft of “gross violation of the procedure for the use of airspace in the Black Sea.” Kiev claims that the Su-24MR and IL-20 planes allegedly “several times flew into the zone reserved by Ukraine for conducting combat firing of anti-aircraft missile forces.” The command of the Ukrainian Air Force announced this on the social network Facebook.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that the flights of Russian aircraft are carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace.
Earlier, the Ukrainian “Association for the Reintegration of Crimea” issued a statement that in the Black Sea area, which was closed by Kiev at the time of the strategic command and staff exercises “United Efforts – 2021” actions of a Ukrainian vessel without observing the established rules of radio communication.
Prior to this, the command of the Ukrainian Navy circulated a press release, which said about “the increased activity of Russia in the Black Sea” and that Moscow “ignores international norms when moving its naval forces and assets.”
According to the military political scientist, associate professor of the RANEPA Valery Volkov, the situation is “the opposite of the mirror.” “It is precisely Kiev that is rapidly increasing its activity in the region. Now it is “United Efforts”, before that there were flights of naval aviation in the Kherson region. At the same time, one should understand that Ukraine does not have any significant forces in the Black Sea, ” Volkov said.
Major General of the Russian Air Force, retired Alexander Rogov, agrees with this assessment. Earlier, he told Gazeta.Ru about the state of modern Ukrainian naval aviation. “To put it quite roughly, it is often just scrap metal. The 10th brigade is generally the only one that is there now. And besides a dozen outdated helicopters and the only AN-26, which is under repair all the time, there are three more AN-2 “maize” aircraft in service there. This is a good plane, unique in its own way. But they put it into production in 1947, ”says the general.
“Increasing its activity, Kiev is thus trying to beg the Western allies for money for weapons. They say that the terrible Russia is next to us and we need dollars and new weapons. Look, we are trying to resist Moscow, but we simply do not have enough strength. The letter-appeal of the former commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Serhiy Gaiduk, published the other day, follows this logic, ”Volkov added.
In an article for the Ukrainian newspaper Telegraf, the former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice-Admiral Serhiy Gaiduk presented a three-point plan “to defeat Russia in the Black Sea.” First, Kiev should create a special naval department “with powers above the ministerial.” Secondly, to bring our own national maritime legislation in line with international ones. And thirdly – “to receive the latest models of naval weapons from partners, and then start producing them in the country.”
According to Volkov, Ukraine’s western partners will not take such a step, fearing that the money for weapons will simply be stolen. Instead, obsolete and substandard weapons may be delivered to the Ukrainian fleet.
So, in September last year, the US Coast Guard handed over to Kiev two patrol boats Drummond (WPB-1323) and Cushing (WPB-1321), built in 1988. In addition, the United States has allocated several dozen inflatable boats to its Ukrainian partners.
At the same time, Volkov considers the current situation “extremely dangerous”. “In addition to increasing its own activity, Kiev also regularly invites NATO countries to the Black Sea. This inflames the atmosphere in the region, ”the expert said. Thus, the forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet began to control the patrol ship of the Spanish Navy and the minesweeper of the Italian Navy, which recently entered the Black Sea. This was reported at the National Defense Management Center of the Russian Federation.
On September 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, stated the need to “increase the presence of the fleets of NATO member states in the Black Sea.”
The American expert resource The National Interest, assessing the meeting between Zelensky and the NATO Secretary General, noted that the strengthening of the alliance could lead to a response from Moscow and an escalation of the confrontation. “The regular presence of NATO troops near the Crimean borders is pushing Moscow to strengthen the defense capability of the peninsula. In this case, Russia will deploy its most modern and highly effective weapons in Crimea, ”the article says.