On November 25th, 2018 Russia has stopped the navigation through the Kerch Strait which is the only passage into the Sea of Azov. This has resulted in tensions with Ukraine. According to the media reports, two Russian military boats have blocked the passage under the arch of Kerch Bridge. This bridge is the only means of connecting Crimea to Russia.
The reason for this blockade by Russian authorities is that three Ukrainian vessels committed the Russian Territorial waters without any prior authorization.
This story of Moscow has been completely denied by Ukraine and they released a statement, “Russian coast guard vessel committed an openly aggressive action against three of the Ukrainian Navy ships during a transit. Russian authorities have already been notified in advance about this planned transit.
The transit involved a Ukrainian Navy Tugboat which was escorted along with two Ukrainian navy artillery boats. These three navy ships were moving from Odessa on the Black Sea towards the Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.
According to Ukrainian navy, a Russian coast guard ship rammed into the tugboat which damaged the ship’s engine, hull, side railing and one lifeboat.
Below is the image of the Russian Border Ship named “Don” on the right of picture whereas the Ukrainian Tugboat named “Jani Kapu” is on the left.
Although the treaty between Russian and Ukraine has been designated for the shared territorial waters of Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov since 2003, Russian has been trying to take greater control over the passage since 2015.
In other news, Russia also enforced this blockade by dispatching their Su-25 Frogfoot Attack Planes which have been spotted by overflying the bridge area several times.
The attack helicopters carrying 575-lt drop tanks, ATGMs and rocket launchers have also been circling the area.
Due to this blockade dozen of civilian cargo ships are stuck as they wait for the passage to be reopened.
According to Ukrainian navy reports, Russians opened fire and seized control of their three navy vessels. Due to this Ukrainian Navy has put all its Navy personnel on alert state with all navy ships ready at sea.