On 25 November 2018, Ukraine’s military navy intentionally violated the Russian maritime space in Crimea.

After gathering evidence of the violation of Russian territorial waters and considering it a hostile act, the Russian Federation proceeded to intercept and lead to port the Ukrainian armoured patrol boats or artillery Berdyansk and Nikopol as well as the tug boat Yani-Kapou . All these belong to Ukraine’s military navy.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian Security and Defence Council proposed to President Petro Porochenko to introduce a martial law for “sixty days”. In New York, the UN Security Council was summoned for an urgent meeting at the request of the two parties.

Ukraine does not recognize that Crimea has stuck itself onto the Russian Federation (the glue being provided from the referendum for auto-determination in 2014). Because Ukraine does not recognize this, it considers the land and sea territory of Crimea is its. Following the opening of the bridge built by the Russians between the two banks of the strait of Kertch, the Ukrainian Navy is militarizing the Sea of Azov and is seeking to transfer what remains of the national navy to it.

Russia on the other hand does not recognize the coup d’etat perpetrated in Kiev with the help of the United States; a coup which benefitted Nazi groups. Considering that the putschists have taken all sorts of measures against the Russian minority in Ukraine, including a downgrading of the status of the Russian language, the Russian Federation has accepted the referendum of auto-determination of Crimea and has incorporated it into its being.
In contrast, Russia has not publicized its position on the status of the separatist region of Donbass, whose people have also asked that it be glued back onto the Federation and where fighting continues to this day.

To overcome the blocus imposed by the Ukrainian authorities on the peninsular of Crimea by Ukraine, Moscow built a bridge between the two banks of the Kertch strait. Faced with the Ukrainian militarization of the Azov Sea, the Russian Secret Service set up a procedure for searching merchant ships – both Ukrainian and Russian ships -, entering and leaving the canal of Kertch-Enikal. These searches, in general every three hours, have occasionally lasted up to 36 hours, causing disorder in the Ukrainian ports of Berdyansk and Marioupol and the Russian ports.

On 21 November, Russia had issued an official communiqué against the militarization of the Azov Sea [1].

Anoosha Boralessa

[1Statement by Russia on the Sea of Azov”, Voltaire Network, 21 November 2018.