For the first time, the Verkhovna Rada reacted to the problems of Ukraine in controlling its own sea waters. The Verkhovna Rada adopted as a basis a draft law on the adjacent zone, whose aim is to increase the possibility of controlling territorial waters from 12 to 24 miles, as required by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The faction of Samopomich in the parliament supported the document. After all, the government had lost a lot of time not resolving this issue, thereby creating the conditions for the opening of a new so-called Azov front in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
MP Roman Semenukha from the Samopomich faction says that “This bill is the first attempt of a legislative reaction to the situation of Ukraine’s controlling its own territorial sea waters.”
He the that the extension of the control zone to 24 miles is the right step, because today the Ukrainian navy and the coast guard can only stop and check vessels at the distance of up to 12 miles from the coast.
In addition, the creation of the adjacent zone is the right initiative in terms of reacting to the conflict which today exists in the Sea of Azov. Roman Semenukha emphasizes, “In fact, since April of this year, we have a new front in this modern Ukrainian-Russian war; Russia is purposefully organizing a blockade of the Sea of Azov.
Over this period, Russian border guards have stopped about 150 Ukrainian ships under some far-fetched pretexts. And one demurrage day costs the Ukrainian business and shipowners more than $15,000. From October of this year, the port of Mariupol switched to a 4-day working week. Obviously, there is a purposeful large-scale blockade of the entire Sea of Azov.”
Consequently, the Ukrainian side should act in several directions, in particular, to modernize the water military capacities, ensure control of the adjacent zone, and enhance the combat capability of the naval forces. In the meantime, we can state that the government has lost a lot of time.
Roman Semenukha concludes, “The legislative step is important, but this is not enough. We need a resource for the consolidation of equipment for patrols, the very equipment, trained crew. While we are losing time, the enemy is continuing the economic blockade from the sea.”