Coast Guard transferring two armed cutters to Ukraine

Coast Guard transferring two armed cutters to Ukraine
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The Coast Guard will transfer two armed cutters to Ukraine at a ceremony Thursday in Baltimore, according to CNN, as tensions with Russia in the Sea of Azov have flared in recent weeks.

On Sept. 20, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the government's plans to create a new naval base in the sea. 

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On the Russian side, Moscow has been constructing a bridge from Crimea to mainland Russia, which it reportedly has been using as a pretext to harass Ukrainian shipping vessels.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert decried these buildups in a statement last month.

"The United States condemns Russia's harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait," she said.

"Russia has delayed hundreds of commercial vessels since April and in recent weeks has stopped at least 16 commercial ships attempting to reach Ukrainian ports."

The two Coast Guard cutters, purchased through the Pentagon's Excess Defense Articles program, will help address Ukraine's quantitative and qualitative naval deficit.

According to Stratfor, the Ukrainian navy possess 66 combat vessels, while their Russian counterparts have 2,800 as well as a over 10,000 more service members.

Thursday's potential transfer is consistent with the US's decision to assist Ukraine militarily since the Euromaidan uprising of 2013.