Pressured Putin flexes his muscles
Apr 21, 2021
Russia is currently carrying out a military build-up near Ukraine’s and occupied Crimea’s borders, gathering over 100,000 troops in the area – more than during the Russian invasion of the country in 2014. There is a risk of Russian aggression, either in Ukraine, or in other unstable areas in the Kremlin's sphere of influence, such as Belarus.
These actions come amid increasing pressure on President Putin – the U.S. has recently announced new sanctions due to election interference and cyber-attacks; the Czech Republic has decided to expel 18 Russian diplomats following revelations of Moscow’s involvement in the explosion of ammunition depots in the country; and the health of the popular imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in decline. On top of that, President Putin’s political ratings have plunged ahead of parliamentary elections in September.
On April 16, Russia announced that it would shut off parts of the Black Sea near Crimea to foreign warships and ‘other state vessels’ from April 24th to October 31st, which could disturb traffic through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov and vital Ukrainian ports.
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