The sea of Azov is located north of the Black Sea and is connected to it by the 4 km wide Strait of Kerch. As such it is sometimes seen as an extension of the Black Sea. It has a surface area of around 39,000 km2. It lies in-between Russia, Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. The Sea of Azov is the world’s shallowest sea, with a maximum depth of merely 14 meters. The Sea of Azov has a temperate climate, with heavy frosts that alternate with thaws and frequent fogs. As such, icebreakers are often needed in cold months to assist the large quantity of freight and passenger traffic that pass through the sea.