Ukraine has asked the US for support after an attack by Russia on vessels belonging to the Ukrainian Navy, said the Ukrainian Ambassador to Washington, Valeriy Chaly.
“The wrongful use of force by Russia against the ships and personnel of the Ukrainian Navy constitutes provocation, which will bring Russian aggression against Ukraine to a new level,” the diplomat wrote on Facebook.
The ambassador emphasized that the encounter could result in a full-scale conflict in the Black Sea, and threatens the security of all the countries in the region.
“We immediately contacted our American partners, urging them to support Ukraine decisively, and to send a clear signal from the US to the aggressor. We were assured that [they are paying] close attention to the situation’s development, and are preparing a response in order to prevent further escalation. We are counting on the support of our strategic partner,” Chaly noted.
On November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian ports of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, in keeping with the treaty on the joint use of the Sea of Azov and the strait.
Despite this, at roughly 8 in the morning, Russian ships provoked the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the tugboat Yany Kapu.
Russia later accused the Ukrainian boats of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legal requirements of the Russian authorities”. Russia physically blocked off the Kerch strait with a transport ship.
The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but the Russian forces started following them, and then attacked. The “Berdyansk” boat was hit, and a crew member was wounded.
According to the most recent information, all three boats were captured by the Russians.