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On March 31, Russia accused Ukraine of having planted some 420 mines in the Black and Azov Seas, further stating that many of those explosive devices were already adrift.
On Monday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that his country will not allow foreign minesweeper ships to enter the Black Sea to defuse the drifting mines after they broke off from anchor cables near Ukrainian ports.
Turkey attaches importance to fully implementing the Montreux Convention because "it is significant not only for Ankara but also for all the Black Sea countries," Akar said, adding his country prefers the balance around the Black Sea not to be "disturbed."
According to analysts, however, the geopolitical balance could be broken precisely if the issue of the Black Sea mines becomes a justification for the entry of minesweepers from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
On March 31, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov accused Ukraine of having planted some 420 mines in the Black and Azov Seas. He also specified that YaM-1 mines were installed from February 25 to March 4.
"Since then, under the influence of wind and surface currents, Ukrainian mines have moved freely in the western part of the Black Sea in a southerly direction," Konashenkov said.
So far, Turkey has detected at least three mines in the waters of Bosphorus Strait, which connects the Black Sea with the Marmara Sea. While Ukraine denies responsibility for the events, the presence of sea mines is not inconceivable from a military perspective.
"Ukraine cannot achieve sea control. However, the right NATO support could enable Ukraine to deny Russia sea control, limit Russian maneuver, and impose costs on the Russian Federation Navy," Lt. Cmdr. Jason Lancaster wrote in the journal of the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC ).
"Ukraine needs sea mines... Mines are a cheap and effective way to deny the enemy maneuver... The majority of the Black Sea between Odessa and Crimea is less than 50 fathoms, which makes it an excellent location for mine warfare," he explained.