russia blocks sea of Azov

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels was stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Pavlishak Alexey

Russian Forces Are Tightening Their Grip Around Ukraine’s Port Of Mariupol

Reuters
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March 19, 2022
Reuters

March 19 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s defense ministry said late on Friday it lost access to the Sea of Azov “temporarily” as invading Russian forces were tightening their grip around the Sea’s major port of Mariupol.

“The occupiers have partially succeeded in the Donetsk operational district, temporarily depriving Ukraine of access to the Sea of Azov,” Ukraine’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The ministry did not specify in its statement whether Ukraine’s forces have regained access to the Sea.

Russia said on Friday its forces were “tightening the noose” around Mariupol, where an estimated 80% of the city’s homes had been damaged more some 1,000 people may still be trapped in makeshift bomb shelters beneath a destroyed theater.

Related Article: Ukraine’s Defiant Odessa Port Could Be Vulnerable to Russian Sea Assault

Mariupol, with its strategic location on the coast of the Sea of Azov, has been a target since the start of the war on Feb. 24 when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he called a “special military operation.” 

The city lies on the route between the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea to the west, and the Donetsk region to the east, which is partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists. 

Russia claimed as early as March 1 that its forces had cut off the Ukrainian military from the Sea of Azov. 

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

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