Almost one year ago, on November 25, 2018, two small Ukrainian Gyurza-M-class gunboats, together with a tug, attempted to cross from the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov, where Ukraine controls two major port cities: Mariupol and Berdyansk. The Ukrainian convoy was stopped and attacked by Russian forces. One of the gunboats, the Berdyansk was hit multiple times as the Ukrainians, who did not return fire, were attempting a retreat. The boats were boarded and all 24 Ukrainian service members (some were wounded, though none fatally) were imprisoned in the Federal Security Service’s Lefortovo prison, in Moscow; they were questioned and accused of crossing the Russian border illegally, despite the existence of a 2003 Russo-Ukrainian treaty defining the Kerch Strait as a joint sovereignty “internal” waterway. The seized ships were impounded in Kerch (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, November 26, 28, 29, 2018).
After almost a year, Russia returns seized Ukrainian naval ships
By Staff6 Mins Read