Russia changes its explanation of attack on Ukrainian ships in Kerch Strait

Russia closed the Kerch Strait before the attack on the Ukrainian ships in order to “the prevent provocative actions” which could been directed at the Kerch Bridge, stated Alexei Volsky, the Head of the Coast Guard Department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Interfax-Ukraine reports.

“It is related to the prevention of provocative action that could be committed by the Ukrainian Navy ships near the Kerch Bridge and undermine the safety of navigation in the Kerch–Yenikale canal,” Volsky stated. He believes it is wrong to talk about Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports. “There can be no question of the so-called blockade of Ukrainian ports. There were no bias or abuses of authority,” he insisted.

Russian border ships attacked and seized Ukrainian ships and a tugboat in the Kerch Strait on November 25. Twenty-four sailors are accused of violating the Russian border.

On November 25th, the Russian military captured three Ukrainian ships in the neutral waters of the Black Sea. The two boats, a tug boat and their crew of 24 people were taken to Simferopol where a Russian-controlled court arrested all Ukrainians for two months. The next day, the sailors were transported to Moscow, where they are now being detained.

The US State Department called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors detained in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait, "otherwise the consequences and pain will only increase with time." High Representative of the EU Federica Mogherini also called on Russia to release the Ukrainians without any conditions.

  FSB, Russia, Ukraine, Kerch Strait, Crimea