Russia refuses to respect its commitments on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Use of the Sea of Azov and now deliberately escalates the conflict in Azov Sea with Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Navy said that the ‘occupiers’ dispatch service refuses to ensure the right to freedom of navigation, guaranteed by international agreements.
According to the current information, Russia sends combat aircraft and Ka-52 attack helicopters at the point where are located Ukrainian Navy vessels.
At this time Russia closed Kerch strait with a “grounded” tanker at the bridge from Azov Sea side. The Interfax news agency reported that Russia has since closed the passage to civilian traffic, citing a local port authority, due to heightened security concerns.
After the incident in the Black Sea when a Russian coast guard vessel rammed a Ukrainian navy tugboat, Moscow begins deployment of its troops to an area of Kerch bridge. Ukrainian Navy vessels were transiting from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, via the Kerch Strait, a narrow passage between Crimea and the Russian mainland.
Russia and Ukraine, whose relations remain acutely strained after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine, have accused each other of harassing each other’s shipping in the area.
“Russian coast guard vessels (…) carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships” during the transit, the Ukrainian navy statement said. It said a Russian coast guard ship damaged the tugboat’s engine, hull, side railing and a lifeboat,” said in Ukrainian Navy statement.
Also added that Russia had been informed in advance about the planned transit.
Russian news agencies reported that Russia’s FSB security service had accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the journey, something Kyiv denied and had said the Ukrainian ships had been maneuvering dangerously with the aim of stirring up tensions.