On Sunday, November 25 a group of vessels, namely two small-sized 'Berdiansk' and 'Nikopol' armored artillery boats and the 'Yany Kapu' (Yanı Qapı) tugboat of Ukraine's Navy were carrying out a planned transfer from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol of the Sea of Azov.
Notification about the transfer plans was done in advance in accordance with international rules to ensure safe navigation.
The Russian dispatcher service refused to ensure the right to freedom of navigation, guaranteed by international agreements.
Though a 2003 treaty designates the Kerch Strait and Sea of Azov as shared territorial waters, Russia first stopped Ukrainian navy vessels from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait by placing a huge cargo ship beneath a Russian-controlled bridge.
After that, contrary to 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 the Kerch Strait, Russian ships – Sobol-class patrol boats, the 'Don' coast guard ship, Mangust-class patrol boats, and the 'Suzdalets' corvette – carried out openly aggressive acts against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy. According to the Ukrainian Navy, Russia open fire at small-sized 'Berdiansk' and 'Nikopol' armored artillery boats. The boats have been damaged and lost ability to move. The 'Yany Kapu' (Yanı Qapı) tugboat also lost ability to move following Russian assault. Six Ukrainian crew members have been wounded.
Russian special forces have captured all the three Ukrainian ships.
All illegal actions have been recorded by the crews of the ships and the command of Ukraine's Navy and reports will be handed over to the respective international agencies.
The President of Ukraine is now holding a military cabinet meeting.
UKRAINE CONSIDERS RUSSIAN ACTIONS AS ACT OF AGGRESSION.
Russians are claiming that the Ukrainian ships are now heading back to Berdyansk. We are checking this information.
The President of Ukraine has condemned Russia’s violation of norms of the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He has called international community to condemn Russian actions and introduce sanctions against Kremlin.