Kyiv considers restricting access of Russian ships to Ukrainian ports
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that Ukraine considers the possibility of several actions after Russian border guards detained three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. According to Klimkin, Ukraine may close a number of Ukrainian ports for Russian vessels.
"One of the steps that we are talking about is to prevent all Russian ships that are coming from the Azov or Black Sea from entering certain ports, or to block the entrance to some vessels. And to restrict all possible contacts... There are many ideas," said Klimkin on the Ukrainian Inter TV channel.
On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.
Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdiansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.
On November 28, the Kremlin-controlled court of Simferopol placed the Ukrainian sailors under 2 months of arrest – until January 25, 2019.