Two minehunter ships provided by the United Kingdom to Ukraine are barred from transiting through Turkish waters to the Black Sea, as declared by Turkish authorities on January 2. 

Citing the Montreux Convention, which regulates maritime traffic, the Turkish government states that Russian and Ukrainian warships are restricted from the Turkish Straits during the ongoing conflict. The convention allows non-belligerent nations’ warships to pass through but grants Turkey authority to block such passages if there’s a perceived risk of involvement in the conflict.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense aimed to deliver Royal Navy’s Sandown class minehunters to aid Ukraine in clearing sea mines, ensuring safe passage for larger ships. Similarly, the Netherlands pledged Alkmaar class minehunters, but Turkey’s restrictions now cast uncertainty on these deliveries. 

The Black Sea, filled with mines since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, poses a threat to civilian and navy ships. The denial of passage through Turkish waters complicates international efforts to address the challenges posed by sea mines in the region.