Militarisation of the peninsula

After Crimea was occupied by Russia, the process of the creeping militarisation of the peninsula and the entire region of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov has started. 

This issue concerns not only Ukraine but also the entire international community. This is evidenced by the adoption of the UN GA resolutions on the militarisation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as well as parts of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. 

Comparing to the pre-occupation period, Russia has more than tripled the number of its military personnel in the peninsula from 12,500 to 40,000.

Russia has also substantially reinforced and modernized the ground, air and naval components of its Armed Forces in Crimea. The group of forces deployed in Crimea is equipped with approximately 900 combat armored vehicles, more than 195 tanks, more than 283 artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, 50 helicopters and 100 aircrafts of different types. 

It is of particular concern that Russia prepares military infrastructure of the peninsula for deployment of nuclear weapons, in particular by refurbishing and modernizing former Soviet storage facilities. Potential carriers of nuclear weapon (ships, missiles systems and aircrafts) have been already deployed in the peninsula. 

The Russian Federation continues also its militarization of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait by building new military infrastructure and increasing the number of its battleships there. 

Illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge has increased the level of threats in the region, since the bridge gives Russia:

  • new infrastructural capabilities for the further militarization of the Crimean peninsula;

  • justification of additional troops deployment (under the pretext of the need to protect the bridge and its infrastructure);

  • capabilities to conduct the policy of selective passage through the Kerch Strait of Ukrainian and foreign ships going to/from the Sea of Azov in order to block Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

Under the pretext of the need to protect the Kerch Bridge the Russian Federation has already committed an act of the armed aggression against Ukraine when in November 2018 it shelled three Ukrainian ships and illegally captured them with the crew members. Moreover, in July 2021 the President of the Russian Federation has sign the decree allowed the National Guard of the Russian Federation (so-called «Rosgvardiya») to block parts of the Black Sea and the Sera of Azov. 

Such activities of Russia have far-reaching consequences for the security of Ukraine and the entire world. Despite the permanent pressure of international community, the Russian Federation continues to transform Crimea into its military base with full-scale ground, air and naval components. Military presence in Crimea allows Russia to:

  • conduct military operation far from Russia, in particular in Syria;

  • impede freedom of navigation in the region;

  • attack southern regions of Ukraine in case of a large-scale escalation or Russian aggression.