The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will escalate following the detention of Ukrainian fishing vessel "YMK-0041" by Russian border guards, the permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in the Crimea, Boris Babin said on Radio Krym.Realii.
"Ukrainian authorities have long turned a blind eye to what is in fact a conflict in the sea due to the annexation of the Crimea. That situation cannot last forever. The logic of events suggests that an escalation is inevitable. A year ago, the Russians made several attempts to influence fishing in the Black Sea. This was because Ukraine initiated proceedings in the Hague Arbitration regarding Russia’s seizure of sea territory. That is, the pattern is already developing," Babin explained.
In his opinion, Ukraine should strengthen its position at sea to protect its sailors with weapons. "The Russians actually strengthen their capabilities in the Azov Sea, which will allow them to protect their fishermen. Unfortunately, we must act in the same way," Babin said. He added that a plan was already in the works.
On May 8, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Volodymyr Omelyan attended a meeting devoted to the beginning of vessel inspection by Russia, irrespective of their flag, which are heading to Ukrainian ports are sailing through the Kerch Strait. He said at that meeting that Ukraine would respond to such cases.
On May 3, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported that "the Russians have begun a policy of detaining and inspecting ships" sailing through the Kerch Strait. According to the Ministry, starting from April 30, Russian special services stop vessels daily to inspect and identify the crew.
On March 25, Ukrainian border guards detained the Nord, a fishing vessel under the Russian flag in the Azov Sea. The Prosecutor's Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea opened a criminal investigation into the Nord visiting the port of annexed Kerch that was closed by Kyiv.