Russia Blocks Ukrainian Navy From Militarizing The Sea of Azov – Updated
Russia Blocks Ukrainian Navy From Militarizing The Sea of Azov – Updated from Moon of Alabama
TDC Note – We published the Nov 26 update first – once you arrive at the article you will see Nov 25 is published at the top of the page.
Update – Nov. 26, 6:00 utc
The Russian coast guard detained the three Ukrainian ships and their crews in Russian waters. They again illegally attempted to cross from the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian side says the two of its seaman were injured.
Since Crimea voted to again become a part of Russia the Kerch Strait is Russian territorial water. Ships can pass the strait but are required to take on a pilot and to undergo inspections if the Russian coast guard demand such. The Ukrainian side understands that these are legal measures. In a report by the U.S. government outlet RFL/RE published in August the Ukrainian side admitted as much:
[The Ukrainian Sea Guard and the squadron’s spokesman] Poliakov said that, while Russia’s actions are “provocative,” because of a controversial 2003 agreement on cooperation and shared use of the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait, “everything Russia is doing here is technically legal.“
The three Ukrainian ships tried to pass Russian waters without informing Russian authorities and without taking on pilots. Since Russia build the $3.7 billion Kerch bridge which connects Crimea with Russia, U.S. commentators and Ukrainian politiciansthreatened to blow up the bridge:
“The Kerch Bridge is an enemy’s infrastructure. It connects the occupied territory with the mainland of the aggressor country, that is why it is an enemy’s infrastructure,” Mosiychuk said on air of 112 Ukraine channel.According to him, “any normal country” in a state of war strives for destroying enemy’s infrastructure. Answering a question whether he personally would destroy the bridge, he said that he would do it if he were the defense minister.
The Russians are understandably careful with any traffic near to it.
Following yesterday’s incident the president of the Ukraine Pedro Poroshenko proposed to declare martial law. The parliament will have to decide on that. This is a very convenient move for Poroshenko as it will allow him to move the March 2019 general election date. Poroshenko trails in the polls with some 8% of the total vote.
Russia called for a UN Security Council emergency meeting which will be held at today at 11:00am EST. The passage through the Kerch Strait is again open for civil vessels.