Photo from UNIAN

UK military expert, Col. (Rtd) Glen Grant says the already critical situation in the southern part of Ukraine will further deteriorate if the government fails to take unambiguous steps to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As of today, military-political situation in the Azov Sea region is estimated at 7-8 points on a conditional 10-point scale, Mr Grant told Epreso.tv.

According to the expert, the city of Mariupol is seeing a drop in goods turnover. As Russia stops ships heading to Mariupol, businessmen will shift to other forms of operations.

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He said this is exactly the tactic of the Russian side – to suppress any attempts to trade by sea, and turn this part of the Sea of Azov into the Russian one. This will happen if Ukraine fails to take any measures, according to Mr Grant, who adds that the Azov Sea will simply become Russian, as well as the space between the Azov Sea and Crimea.

He said the stretch from Crimea to Romania would be the next object of the blockade and further seizure.

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Grant says the Russians will start a game where they will try to block access to Odesa. Obviously, this will be their next step, he stressed, adding that U.S. and other NATO allies' warships deployed near Odesa for exercises or being on their planned routes will not open fire on Russian vessels.

Grant suggests that Ukraine ask the U.S. to provide warships to the Ukrainian Navy since the country today lacks a strong fleet.