An article in The Daily Signal covers how Russian naval forces have been increasingly harassing Ukrainian merchant vessels in the Sea of Azov, effectively blockading the body of water through which roughly 80 percent of Ukraine’s exports pass. The U.S. State Department released a statement saying Russia has stopped at least 16 vessels bound for Ukrainian ports in recent weeks and has delayed hundreds of others since April. Meanwhile, Moscow recently opened its bridge across the Kerch Strait connecting mainland Russia to Crimea. Since the Kerch Straight is the only water passageway from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, all maritime traffic must now pass under Russia’s bridge. Analysts say Russia’s harassment of Ukrainian ships amounts to a military blockade that is causing traffic to decline at Ukraine’s ports and is setting the stage for further aggressive actions in the Black Sea region. Additionally, the Sea of Azov has untapped oil and natural gas.