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Putin will block foreign warships from entering Black Sea via the Kerch Strait

The closure will be in effect from April 24 through an unspecified date in October.

April 15, 2021 4:34pm

Updated: April 15, 2021 4:48pm

Russia will block foreign warships and non-commercial vessels from transiting the Kerch Strait to access the Black Sea, according to reports from Ukrainian media. The strait lies between Crimea and Russia, and connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.

The closure will be in effect from April 24 through an unspecified date in October, according to the Kyiv Post. The blockage reportedly is to seal off the Black Sea for military drills, and comes amid heightened speculation of an imminent war between Russia and Ukraine.

The move materialized after Russia on Tuesday warned the U.S. to avoid the area "for their own good," prompting the Biden administration to cancel plans for two U.S. Navy warships to enter the Black Sea.

"Russia has intensified its escalation at sea," Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. "The behavior of the Russian side indicates the absence of any intention on its part to refuse to continue the aggression against Ukraine using military and hybrid methods."

The U.S. has "no desire to be in an escalatory cycle with Russia," a senior administration official told reporters during a Thursday background briefing on increasing tensions with Russia.

The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond to a request for comment from Just the News.

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