Navy Commander: Ukraine Is Ready to Respond by Force to Secure Its Seas
The commander of the Naval Forces said that there will not be a "second Crimea" in Southern Ukraine
Photo from navy.mil.gov.ua website
Ukrainian Naval Forces are ready to use force against Russian ships if the situation in the Azov and Black Seas escalates, said Ihor Voronchenko, commander of the Naval Forces, in an interview to BBC.
“If there is some kind of aggravation, we will use force. If they resort to severe destabilization, we will adequately answer: we will accompany our ships. We will be in those areas where fishing and other types of business are conducted,” Voronchenko said.
He said that Russia is resorting to new methods of hybrid warfare.
“The tasks they set themselves: the safety of the Kerch Strait, the fight against poaching and smuggling, free navigation: all of this is fake. The main areas of attention are the impact on the economy of Ukraine, the bankruptcy of our ports, social destabilization in Pryazovia, and the obstruction of free navigation in the Azov Sea. Berdiansk and Mariupol lost a large share of the profit due to detention of ships. This shows once again that the Russian Federation has not abandoned its intentions regarding the south of Ukraine,” Voronchenko said.
He believes that Russia can go even further in destabilizing the Black Sea areas to influence certain segments of the population.
“In the short term, the Russians were able to build a naval group in the Azov Sea. There is information that some of the Caspian Flotilla boats have been thrown here. Russia has a branched-up base, which enables it to quickly control most of the Azov Sea, but we were expecting it. We take certain steps, and we will increase our strength, so that their indirect actions will respond with our same indirect actions,” Voronchenko said.
He insists that the situation in the Azov and Black Seas will not be a “second Crimea.” He said that the size of Ukraine’s Navy, which is significantly smaller than Russia’s, will not be a hindrance, because Ukraine can anticipate Russia’s actions and will be able to respond to situations that arise.
“Yes, we are smaller, but our potential is not so. We will fulfill our tasks,” Voronchenko said.
In order to secure Ukrainian ships and the livelihood of fishermen, Voronchenko said that the Border Guard Service will regularly accompany the ships.