According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kerch Strait bridging Crimea and Russia will not welcome international warships until next fall. His order came as President Biden is considering a plan of sending warships to the Black Sea to aid Ukraine amid growing tensions between the two neighboring nations.  

On Thursday, the Ukraine foreign ministry said that the Russian government is closing the Kerch Strait, hence blocking access to the Black Sea, to all foreign military warships by the following week and will reopen around October. 

The amassed Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border had increased more than ever over the past seven years when Moscow took the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine and stacked pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east Donbas territory. 

On Friday last week, CNN reported an update on the tension that the Biden administration is considering sending two warships, the USS Roosevelt and the USS Donald Cook, to the Black Sea to support Ukraine following Russia’s recent military build-up on Ukraine’s eastern border. 

In recent weeks, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Miller, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have all talked to their Ukrainian counterparts. 

This move from the United States prompted a warning from the Russian leader on Tuesday, April 13. Putin claimed it was an act of “dangerous provocation” and warned Biden’s administration to keep out of the countries’ feud “for their own good,”  according to The New York Post

Russia’s explanation for its growing troop presence in the Black Sea was “a three-week snap military drill to test combat readiness,” said Reuters, disclosing that the drill was commencing the next day.

Under a 1936 treaty giving Turkey control of the straits to enter the Black Sea, the United States must provide 14 days’ notice of its intent to move ships.

On Thursday, April 15, Washington announced the cancelation of military warship deployment in the area, saying a misinterpretation was perceived from Turkey when it notified its intention, and an official confirmation on the involvement of the two warships was never made reported the outlet

Putin’s Kerch Strait block came after reporters confirmed that the United States was canceling its warship deployment. 

Meanwhile, Biden’s sanctions on Russia may not have any significant effect, Axios surmised. The outlet called on Rex Tillerson’s opinion. Tillerson, the former Secretary of State who has had years of experience dealing with the Russian Leader while running Exxon Mobil, once said that such sanctions have a feeble effect on Putin’s nerve. 

In 2014 when Russia first sent its “little green men” into Ukraine territory, the United States and other international allies imposed several sanctions attempting to ward off the invasion. Still, Crimea and eastern Ukraine continue to be occupied. 

According to the outlet, one sanction that may force Putin’s retreat would be targeting the oligarchs who “hold a vast wealth on his behalf.” Yet, Washington’s sanctions do not include such measures, nor are there any intent to consider other possibilities for stopping Russia. 

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