Has Turkey Shut Down Black Sea Access For Russian Warships?

CANAKKALE, TURKIYE - FEBRUARY 08: Russia frigate "Minsk", bow numbered 127 with a length of 112 meters, "Kaliningrad" bow numbered 102 with a length of 120 meters and "Korolev" bow numbered 130 with a lenght of 112 m... CANAKKALE, TURKIYE - FEBRUARY 08: Russia frigate "Minsk", bow numbered 127 with a length of 112 meters, "Kaliningrad" bow numbered 102 with a length of 120 meters and "Korolev" bow numbered 130 with a lenght of 112 meters, pass through Dardanelles Strait in Canakkale, Turkiye on February 08, 2022. (Photo by Burak Akay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) MORE LESS

President Zelensky is saying publicly that Turkey has agreed to shut down transit to the Black Sea for Russian warships.

Apparently Zelensky and Erdoğan spoke by phone today. So far as I can tell, Erdoğan has not confirmed this potentially important news.

Ukraine has been pleading for Turkey to cut off Black Sea access for days. Previously Turkey has said that the international agreement governing access to the Black Sea would prohibit it from blocking Russian warships from returning to their Black Sea ports.

Zelensky’s tweet announcing the move could just be a way of amping up pressure on Turkey. Or it could be real.

A NATO member (Turkey) denying access to Russia to its home ports has potential ramifications for widening the conflict.

Update: If this posts feels a little hedged, it’s because Zelensky’s tweet doesn’t outright say that Turkey has agreed to this move. It strongly leaves that impression, but it’s mostly by juxtaposition.

Later update: There’s at least one denial by Turkey. Here’s more on why this would be a big (and unlikely) move by Turkey.

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