Viktor Sokirko, Dmitry Mayorov
The US Navy does not plan to take part in operations in the Black Sea. This was stated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. Thus, he answered the question of a CNN journalist about whether the United States is making “efforts to break through the blockade of Mariupol by sea.”
A CNN correspondent suggested that the Pentagon’s decision may be due, among other things, to the fact that Ankara closed the Bosphorus to warships.
Earlier, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the passage of warships of any countries to the Black Sea is excluded while the Russian special operation in Ukraine lasts. According to him, Turkey is firmly committed to the implementation of the 1936 Montreux Convention on the exclusion of warships from the Black Sea in the event of hostilities in the region. The ban applies to both the entry of ships into the water area and the exit from it.
To what extent such a ban will affect the Ukrainian Navy, which are mostly represented by patrol boats and auxiliary vessels, is not entirely clear – this is a coastal fleet.
The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy has more than 50 pennants of warships, including frigates, missile ships, large landing ships, which are ships of the far sea and ocean zone. All of them are now prohibited from passing through the Bosphorus. But the entrance to the Black Sea for NATO and US ships is also prohibited.
“Turkey played into the hands of Russia with such a decision with the closure of the Black Sea for all warships,” military expert, captain 1st rank of the reserve Vasily Dandykin told Gazeta.Ru. – The strength of the fleet in the region is quite sufficient to ensure the security of the country, and the absence of US or British ships will not distract you from the need to escort them, because every call of an American or British destroyer required close attention to them. There are no threats to the Black Sea Fleet from Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria.”
The expert recalled that back in March, a combined detachment of six ships from the Northern and Baltic fleets arrived in Sevastopol with equipment and marines on board. “For us, strengthening has already happened, the ban will not interfere with us,” Dandykin added.
Moscow did not challenge Ankara’s decision. NATO, on the other hand, was outraged by Turkey’s position. The alliance command asked Turkey to limit the passage only for Russian ships, but to make an exception for NATO. This was reported by The Times newspaper, citing sources in the British Ministry of Defense.
“The closure of the Bosporus will not weaken the Russian naval grouping in the Mediterranean either,” said Maksim Begunov, a member of the College of Military Experts. – It includes ships of all formations of the Russian Navy, and not just the Black Sea Fleet, so the rotation of forces and means there will continue as before. It is possible that the ships of the Black Sea Fleet will have to stay a little longer, but they also have the opportunity to replenish ammunition and food in the Syrian port of Tartus. In the same place, most likely, crews will be changed.”
Syrian naval transit, Begunov believes, will also not be disrupted, although it will take longer.
Russian weapons and military equipment enter Syria via several routes. The main one is maritime transit through the Black Sea, through the Bosporus and Dardanelles and further through the Mediterranean Sea and the port of Tartus. The longer route is the northern one, from the Barents Sea (Murmansk, Severomorsk), bypassing Norway, Great Britain, the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar and further through the Mediterranean Sea.
“Thus, Russia did not suffer from this decision of Turkey in any meaningful way, but the positions of the United States and NATO were significantly weakened.
Now in the USA they say that they did not want to go to the Black Sea at the time of hostilities, but this is obviously not true. They were demonstratively present in the Black Sea during the conflict in Ossetia in 2008. Now they are banned. In fact, Ankara forbade NATO to consider the option of deblocking Mariupol by sea, and such calls from Kyiv have been made repeatedly,” Begunov summed up.
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