Sea of Azov


Sea of Azov
   The world’s shallowest sea, the Sea of Azov is separated from the Black Sea by the Strait of Kerch. The surface area of the Sea of Azov is 37,600 square kilometers. It washes southeastern Ukraine, Crimea, Rostov Oblast, and Krasnodar Krai; the Ukrainian and Russian coastlines are roughly equal in length at approximately 500 kilometers each. Both the Don and Kuban rivers flow into the sea, resulting in low levels of salinity; however, late Sovietera damming projects caused the salinity to spike, thus reducing the variety and quantity of fish populations. Both the Russian navy and Ukrainian navy are active in the shared waters. In 2003, rumored plans to extend Russia’s Kerch Peninsula toward Crimea via a new causeway riled Ukrainian politicians, who feared a Russian attempt to reincorporate the peninsula into Russia. Three years later, RussoUkrainian talks on the permanent status of the sea broke down over whether to divide the sea on a bilateral basis or to internationalize the waters; the Ukrainians favored the latter position, but this was opposed by Russia on the grounds that such a decision would allow third-party navies, particularly North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ships, to enter the sea.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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