Russia-Ukraine Tensions Heighten as Russian Navy detained three vessels of the Ukrainian Navy – Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu for violating the Russian State Border in the Black Sea. The Public Relations Centre of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said weapons were used to stop them. According to RT the Ukrainian vessels were sailing between two Ukrainian ports from Odessa in the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Azov Sea. zoom
Ukrainian officials said they had notified Moscow in advance about its navy ships sailing through the area but Moscow has denied this. Under a 2003 treaty, Ukraine and Russia have freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait, and Crimean seaport controls the traffic in the area. Every ship contacts the facility reports her route and destination, and accordingly receives permission to sail through the Strait.
According to FSB, the three Ukrainian vessels did not respond to legitimate demands to stop immediately and performed dangerous manoeuvres. “As a result, all three vessels of the Ukrainian Navy were detained in Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea. Three wounded military servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces received medical assistance.”
The FSB further stated that the Kiev leadership should have thought about possible consequences of its actions. Officials also said that they had irrefutable evidence of Kiev’s using the Ukrainian Navy to stage a provocation in the Black Sea. It promised that information will be made public soon.
Furthermore, the incident has caught NATO’s attention and has released a statement saying that the organization supports Ukraine’s sovereignty. “We call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law.” NATO has noted Russia’s ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Azov Sea.
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