What is happening in the Sea of ​​Azov?

The information went relatively unnoticed: the Russian fleet to redeploy 6 missile corvettes from the Caspian Sea fleet to the Black Sea fleet, significantly strengthening the existing fire capacity, and in particular the capacity to launch Kalibr missiles.

This maneuver is part of a resumption of clashes in the Donbass between regular Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian insurgent forces, as well as an intensification of maneuvers in the Sea of ​​Azov.

These elements raise fears of an amphibious maneuver aimed at capturing the Ukrainian coast between Donbass and Crimea, so as to create territorial continuity. As the south-east of Ukraine is partially Russian-speaking, Russian forces could rely on this population to contain hostile popular reactions, as was the case in Abkhazia. In addition, the timetable is favorable for Moscow, with a NATO weakened by D. Trump's attacks, an EU also weakened by the rise of nationalism and the emergence of governments openly favorable to Russia, and a Turkey on the verge of of the open crisis with Washington over the F-35. And it is not the several dozen Javelins delivered by the United States to the Ukrainian forces which would be able to oppose the Russian forces based on this front, which have also been very largely reinforced in recent months by new and modernized equipment, like the T72B3M.

We can also question the scope of such an operation, because in the event of the (probable) collapse of the Ukrainian forces, the temptation to push to the banks of the Dnieper, or even to Moldova, will certainly be important, with a city like Odessa representing a major port and a strategic industrial site for shipbuilding. 

Finally, we cannot ignore that Russia favors military operations at the end of summer, in order to take advantage of a front frozen by winter, and of a powerful negotiating argument, gas.

In the absence of objective data on the strengthening of ground forces on the Ukrainian border, this is nothing more than a worrying combination of circumstances. But if this strengthening occurs, there is great fear that a severe conflict will once again come to Europe's aid.

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