"Observations suggest that our gas fields are the next to be occupied. The drilling rigs have already been moved two miles closer to our Zmiinyi Island. As for the situation currently developing in the Sea of Azov, we recorded almost 116 cases when ships were stopped for inspection," TSN.Tydzhen news agency quoted Ihor Voronchenko, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy as saying, Censor.NET reports.
If, the inspection of ships took less than two hours before the war, it can take up to three days now, which causes serious damage. "Ship-owners lose up to $15,000 a day because their vessels stay in the Kerch Strait," added Yuri Balan, deputy director of the Mariupol Sea Port.
This is a direct attack on the owners of ships that operate in Ukrainian Mariupol and Berdiansk ports. Now the ships stand in a line near the entrance to the Kerch Strait. "This applies only to those ships that head for Ukraine or exit from the Ukrainian ports. They brought warships to protect the Crimean Bridge. Missile carriers which were used in airstrikes on Syrian opposition forces were redeployed from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Azov. This armada in the Sea of Azov is opposed only by Mariupol-based Joint forces operation’s border guard detachment with its two light ships, about 150 boats armed with machine guns in contrast to the missiles [the Russian warships are armed with]," the news agency said.
"The latest example took place last week when the FSB (Russian Security Service – Ed.) members inspected Ukrainian vessel Baron just 4 miles off our coast, which is the closest our ships have ever been detained as far as I remember," said Mykola Levytskyi, deputy commander of the Mariupol border guard detachment. Six kilometers of the Azov Sea can be seen by an observer standing on its beach.
Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service earlier said that the Russian invaders have been checking Ukrainian vessels and their crew members in the Sea of Azov on the daily basis since April 30.
Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian said on July 11 that the Russian border guards had stopped nearly 100 Ukrainian ships in the Azov Sea for inspection since late April.