Russia correspondent Iris de Graaf:
“The Black Sea region has recently become a focal point of tension. In the spring, the UK sent two naval vessels to the region to show solidarity with Ukraine. That was when tensions arose over the build-up of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Then Russia announced that it would close certain parts of the Black Sea for a period of six months to foreign naval vessels. Every little “violation” here in Russia is immediately seen as a “land provocation”.
You can now see this in the headlines in a file Russian state media. The focus is largely on our “Russian border” and its illegal crossing. In the Russian media, we also read that NATO activity near Russia’s borders has “significantly increased” in recent days, and that “Western ships are almost constantly operating in the Black and Baltic Seas.”
This is portrayed in the media as “obvious Western provocations”, the “Western enemy” that Russia does not respect. The picture conveys that the West is a provocation and that Russia is busy only protecting its own territory.
It’s – I think – a signal of strength, too; A signal to Ukraine not to get too close to the West and to show that Crimea is ours and that in the West you have nothing to say about it.”
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