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Serial incidents between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait. EU calls for de-escalation

(B2) The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which was essentially land and communication, continues today at sea. Between the Ukrainian and Russian navies, in the Kerch Strait, the situation degenerated this Sunday

The Ukrainian tug Yani Kapu rammed by the Russian coast guard vessel Don (credit: Ukraine - A. Azerov)

A rammed ship

It all started this Sunday (November 25), in the early hours of the morning, when a convoy of Ukrainian ships, consisting of two small armored artillery boats, the Berdyansk and Nikopol, wanted to cross the Kerch Strait, separating Crimea from Russia, to go from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol through the Sea of ​​Azov. They were followed by two Russian ships: the corvette Suzdalets (071) and the coast guard vessel Don. The latter then struck the bow of the Ukrainian tug Yani Kapu (A-947), reported the Ukrainian Navy on Facebook this Sunday (November 25). The ship's main engine was damaged and one of the rescue boats disappeared on impact.

A ship hit, six wounded

After leaving the 12-mile zone, the Ukrainian Navy Naval Group came under fire from the Russian FSB Coast Guard,” the Ukrainian Navy announced at 20:28 p.m. Kyiv time (19:28 p.m. CET) tonight. " The Berdiansk taken under fire had to stop its navigation. A Ukrainian sailor was injured in action.

Seizure of the three ships

Shortly after, around 21:20 p.m. (Kiev time), the three ships, the Berdiansk, Nikopol and the harbor tug Yani Kapu « were forced to stop and seized by Russian special forces announces the Ukrainian navy. " Two Ukrainian sailors were injured. » In fact, a total of six wounded were recorded by the Ukrainian authorities, 23 sailors being held by the Russians.

(Укр – Eng – Fr – Deu – Rus)МВС України за допомогою спецзасобів отримало доступ до відео про вокації -таран російським прикордонним кораблем "Дон" українського судна.Перехо плене відео знято російськими військовими, чутні команди – це піде доказом в м іжнародний суд!Агресія! Гуртуємось! Очікуємо реакції дружніх країн!Друзі з ближнього та далекого зарубіжжя – реально підтримуєте Україну?! Прошу не обмежиться стурбованістю. Потрібні дії!* * *(Eng)Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, with the help of special means, got access to a video of provocation – Russian coast guard ship "Don" ramming Ukrainian ?? vessel. Intercepted video is taken by the RF, commands heard. That will stand as a prove to the international court!Aggression!Let's stand together and anticipate reaction of friendly countries!Friends from Near and Far Abroad – Do you really support Ukraine? I ask you not to confine on anxiety only. Action is required!* * *(En)The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, with the help of special means, gained access to a provocative video – the taran of the Russian border ship "Don" of the Ukrainian ship ??.The intercepted video is taken by the Russian Federation, the commands heard. This will prove in the international court!Aggression!We gather and wait for the reaction of friendly countries!Friends from near and far abroad – Do you really support Ukraine? I ask you not to limit yourselves only by worry. The action required!* * *(Deu)Das Innenministerium der Ukraine bekommte mit Hilfe einer speziellen Ausrüstung ein Video in dem ein russischer Grenzschiff "Don" eines ukrainischen Schiffes gerammt hat.Abgefangenes Video wurde von Russen gefilmt. Befehlen sind zu hören. Es wird als Beweismittel vor einem internationalen Gericht verwendet.Aggression!Wir warten auf die Reaktion der befreunden Länder!Freunde aus nah und fern im Ausland - unterstützen Sie die Ukraine! Bitte, beschränken Sie nicht nur auf Erfahrungen! Aktion ist forderlich!* * *(Rus)МВД Украины с помощью спецсредств получило видео провокации – тарана российского пограничного корабля "Дон" украинского судна.Перехваченное видео сня то российскими спецслужбами, слышны команды – это станет доказательством в меж дународном суде!Агрессия!Сплачиваемся! Ожидаем реакции дружественных стран! – реально поддерживаете Украину?! Прошу не ограничиваться "озабоченностью". Требуются действия!

Posted by Arsen Avakov on Sunday, November 25, 2018

Respect for borders for some, free maritime circulation for others

According to the FSB, quoted by sputnik news, these vessels have crossed the Russian border illegally ". And " the buildings carried out dangerous maneuvers by neglecting the requests of the Russian authorities ". Military launches and a freighter got in the way under the Kerch bridge to block navigation, indicated Russian media.

According to the Ukrainian Navy, the sailing plans had been notified in advance in accordance with international rules, say the Ukrainians. They claim that " all illegal actions have been recorded by the crews of the ships and the command of the Ukrainian Navy and that the reports will be handed over to the respective international agencies ».

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

A call from the EU for a return to calm

The European Union reacted tonight with a communicated of the spokesperson for the High Representative. " We expect Russia to restore freedom of passage through the Kerch Strait and urge everyone to act with the utmost restraint to immediately de-escalate the situation. indicated the spokesperson for the High Representative of the EU.

These events " clearly show that instability and tensions can only increase if the fundamental rules of international cooperation are not respected “, as the High Representative had indicated at the end of October to Parliament. Let us recall that the EU considers the annexation of Crimea, like the construction of the Kerch bridge, as " a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine »

A water control problem

To locate the problem, nothing beats a small map. The Kerch Strait controls navigation between the two parts of Ukraine, the West (in Odessa) and Mariupol (in the East). The annexation of Crimea by Russia led ipso facto to the annexation of territorial waters within the limit of 12 miles. This results in total Russian control over the entrance to the Sea of ​​Azov.



The Kerch Strait controls navigation between the two parts of Ukraine, the West (in Odessa) and Mariupol (in the East)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).