The Ukrainian Navy has confirmed that Russian vessels have opened fire on Ukrainian warships.

Reports state that Russian fire damaged small armoured artillery boats and inured sailors.

The confrontation reportedly occurred as three Ukrainian ships sailed from the Black Sea port of Odessa. Russia are claiming that the Ukrainian vessels were in its waters and blocking access. Local media also report that Russian special forces have captured the armoured artillery boats plus a tugboat belonging to the Ukrainian Navy.

According to the Ukrainian Navy, six sailors were injured when a Russian ship fired on Ukraine’s vessels near the Kerch Strait, a narrow sea passage close to the Crimean peninsula which separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

“Small armored vessels, the Beryansk and the Nicopol, have been damaged by enemy fire and can’t move,” the Navy said in a Facebook post. “The Yany Kapu tugboat has also been forced to halt. The ships have been seized by Russian special forces,” it added.

The incident is understood to started on Sunday morning when Russia stopped the three Ukrainian ships from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait by placing a cargo ship beneath a Russian controlled bridge.

With officials from both countries accusing the other of provocative behaviour and relations still raw after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the incident risks pushing the two countries towards a wider conflict.

Earlier, Russia’s border guard service had accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the ships’ journey, something Kiev denied, and said the Ukrainian ships had been manoeuvring dangerously and ignoring its instructions with the aim of stirring up tensions.

The vessels are Gyurza-M gunboats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yana Kapa.

27 COMMENTS

  1. Another example of Russia’s contribution to world peace. Why do something useful in the world when you can just spend your time bullying your neighbours.

  2. Having built the bridge across the straight to connect the Crimea to Russia-proper, and with ongoing hostilities in the east of the Ukraine i imagine they are now effectively strangling off any Ukrainian access to the Sea of Azov

  3. Be a shame if little green men accidentally blew up that bridge lol. Seriously though Russia needs reigning in,watched the video earlier of the tug being rammed absolute disgrace. The Ukrainians should never have given up their nukes

    • Those nukes would not have helped them one single bit. Soviet and Russian designed nuclear weapons have Permissive Action Links (PALs) just like American weapons due. By the Ukraine’s own estimate it would have taken at least 12 to 18 months to get operational control of them. That is provided of course monkeying around with the warhead didn’t trip the safety and disable the thing. Further holding that many (albeit unusable) nukes next to the Russian border would have likely resulted in a war to destroy or recapture the warheads.
      Further those were not in fact Ukraine’s nukes they belonged to the Soviet Union which the Ukraine seceded from. The facilities that both made and maintained them are in Siberia.
      Also if “little green men” blew up that bridge the next headline you would read is one about T-90s driving into Kiev.

      • Elliott are you suggesting that the American Trident IID5 Nuclear Ballistic Missiles that the UK buys has a piece of equipment inside them that means the UK can’t independantly launch said missiles? Because if so you are very wrong.

        • Pointing a nuke you cannot detonate at a nuclear armed country is like pointing a pointing a toy gun at a police officer in the US a efficient means of suicide.
          The Ukrainians did not have the go codes for arming or launching them. If they had begun the more than year process to gain operational rather than merely possessive control of them the result would likely have been war to eliminate the threat or a crisis in which Russia AND the United States forced Ukraine to dismantle them. As great powers do not tolerate nuclear weapons on their borders in potentially hostile countries. For an example see Cuban Missile Crisis – did the people of the great State of Florida care about assurances the missiles in Cuba were defensive or was their demand get them the hell out or we will nuke you till you glow.

    • Isnt this exactly what many people that post on this website say they want to see done to Spanish vessels that act up around Gibraltar ?

      • Until Spain agrees to return Ceuta & Mellila to Morrocco she has no case for demanding Gibraltar. That would give them half a credible case. However Gibraltarians overwhelmingly wish to remain under UK control.

  4. We need to make it very clear that we will not let the Ukraine be pushed around any further, or expect our liberty to be taken in the same way. It was very foolish to bring Nato right up to the Russian borders whilst massively disarming ourselves across Europe, but that’s done now & Russia is very aware of just how weak we are. Our militaries have been more occupied trying to resist cuts after cuts while being over extended in Iraq & Afghanistan. Spin it however the politicians try to BS the public, we’re dangerously weak. That can only embolden our enemies as seen in Russias creeping demolition of Ukraine & Chinas annexation of the South China Sea.

    Until we wake up this will only go on, making the world ever more dangerous & risking conflict we’ve been stripping ourselves of the resources to fight.

    The world is scarily in a similar mess to the 1930s. What are we going to do about it?

    • Why? America’s buisness is in the South China Sea due to the hundreds of billions of dollars in solid goods and in to the trillions every year in commerce when the banking sector is factored with multiple countries in the region. Add to this the value of both the SCS and the Straits of Malacca to the south not only to the region but America strategically but for all of her Pacific allies and territories.
      How much does the Ukraine do in buisness with the United States going both ways? They don’t even crack 3 billion a year. So not our concern and how it is Western Europe’s concern is baffling.
      As for the world being in a mess similar to the 1930s? Unless you’re referring to Frau Merkel telling nations to “orderly” give up sovereignty. While also curtailing free speech and calling for what is a essentially a German funded Pan-European Army. So yes their is something that reminds of the Nazis but they reside in Brussels and Berlin.

      • German funded you say, do you not mean EU funded and controlled by Germany. Its taken them 70 years to work out how to control the European continent by not taking it with force but hats off to them they have done it.

  5. We should simply just ratchet up sanctions further on Russia. Consider extending sanctions to European firms involved in Nord Stream 2. Germany and others must learn they cant have their cake and eat in when it comes to NATO vs Russia.

    • NATO needs the authority to exert soft power, such as trade/ economic sanctions etc, as well as the ability to exert hard power (ie military force). In the future as both China then India emerge to challenge the West, potentially allying with Russia, a more united front will be required.

      • This has nothing to do with NATO, Ukraine is not a member and no NATO country has a desire to go to war with Russia if they can avoid it.

        So far Russia has been pretty smart and sensible about this, they seized control of areas of Ukraine that were vast majority Russian and stopped there, if they had gone further we would be thinking back to the early days of Nazi Germany, but they didn’t.

        This situation seems a bit tit for tac to me. Ukraine sending not 1 but 3 armed gun boats to investigate a tanker, clearly indicated they knew what they were doing would not be seen well by Russia.

        For sure Russia was also being aggressive, but from their perspective, the bridge is in their waters and so they can do whatever they like. Similar to our anti shipping barriers around Gib.

        All out war on the edge of Europe is clearly something to scare NATO and the ourselves, but so far Russian actions have been pretty contained…so far.

        Clearly NATO should be preparing and upping its readiness, just in case things change, but they are already at pretty high readiness.

        • You’ve missed the point of what Russia is doing by blocking the Kerch passage into the Sea of Azov, they’ve basically pushed an economic embargo on any of Ukraine’s shipping passing into the Black Sea. I don’t believe they have the rail and truck transportation to compensate by sending the goods via rail or road. Blocking the passageway effectively cuts Ukraine’s exports by 25%. So for a country that relies on it exports, this is a major kick in the cajones.

          Russia and the Ukraine signed a bilateral agreement allowing free access to both countries to the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Straight. Russia have reneged on the deal by blocking it and carrying out enforced inspections on shipping passing under the bridge, under the auspice of preventing a terrorist attack. I’m sure Ukraine would love to blow up the bridge, but I am hoping they aren’t stupid enough to carry out such an act.

          I believe this is a very deliberate act on Russia’s part. It dramatically cuts Ukraine’s export revenues, especially when shipping is delayed through prolonged inspections. Russia is typically using maskirovka to camouflage its end game. But looking at the map of Crimea, the Sea of Azov and South Eastern Ukraine, I think their goal is obvious – land grab – pure an simple.

          The so-called Pro Russian separatists, failed to take the key port of Mariupol in the Zapoerizhia Oblast (where the three ships were going), but have mostly succeeded in the succession of the Donetsk Oblast. Both of these regions are very rich in natural resources such as Coal, Iron and Oil. Tell me I’m wrong, but this is what I believe Russia have been planning all along.

          • Hitler was obsessed with the Donbass and Donets Basin too due to the resources therein.

            The whole war on the Russian front swayed back and forth in that region from 42 onwards.

            Nothings changed!

  6. I know some people feel we and the US do not have skin in this game, but unfortunately we do.

    This is mainly because of bad foreign policy on the part of the US and UK in the form of the Budapest MOSU. These rather idiotic document (to my mind) gives assurances about the security of the state of Ukraine. Now I know it’s not a guarantee in the same way as NATO membership and the US and UK never intended it to be any form of promise, but all the same assurance was given and now Russia are pissing all over it and this makes the two other signatories UK and US look weak and unable to deal with Russia.

    I’d say “so what” but Russia has nukes, that means however meaningless the security of the Ukraine may be to the US and UK the actions of Russia very much do have significant meaning as it’s one of only two states ( other being China) that constitute a potential existential threat to both nations futures.

    • The agreement gave no guarantee of sovereignty by the other party’s only that none would act aggressively toward Ukraine and would all respect its territorial integrity.

      The last thing Ukraine wants to see is us fighting WW3 in their country over Crimea. A continuing build up of economic sanctions hits Putin were he is weakest. Military rhetoric plays into his hands.

  7. I know this won’t be popular and people will think I am a Russian troll, but in my opinion this whole thing could have been avoided if we hadn’t tried to isolate Russia so much.

    If you look at it from their perspective, NATO can be seen as an aggressor and is expanding towards them and so they need to counter this aggression. Whilst we would like to see ourselves and NATO as more peace keeping, NATO was setup to counter Russia. They invaded eastern Ukraine because they saw what they perceive as ethnical Russians starving suffering under the Ukraine government corruption (whether true or not is anyones guess).

    The west then pushed sanctions on them, further isolating them and making them see the west as the enemy.

    NATO should have folded at the end of the cold war and a new alliance setup with a more wider role and attempting to bring Russia onboard. Whether it would have worked, we will never know.

    Right now it is a mess, Russia feels like they are on the right side and the west is powerless to act other than doing isolating actions, which further justifies Russia and the spiral continues.

    The big concern i have right now, is at the same time the US is doing the same with China and if we have China and Russia joining together to combat the ‘aggressor’ they perceive in the west, we have a seriously scary future. I am not giving an opinion on whether it is true or not, as i think suspect both sides have an element of truth and a lot of the reverse.

    The problem is everyone is now entrenched in their positions and I don’t see how anyone will back down, and try and fix this anytime soon.

    What surprises me is that Europe is not doing more to re-arm. Whilst that would for sure escalate things, it is the natural reaction.

    • I agree to a certain extent, we haven’t exactly ingratiated ourselves to the Russians since the end of the Cold War, but then they haven’t exactly done much to ingratiate themselves to us. It would be nice if Russia was more open and fully democratic, it’s a great nation with tremendous potential (and I feel that there is a fear in the west that Russia would supersede us if this was fully realised). However I can’t see Russia in the present situation changing, there’s too much power concentrated in a few individuals who find the current situation to their convenience.

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