To comply with the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine No. 320/218 dated October 12, 2018, with the purpose of increasing the presence of the Navy of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from 23.11.2018, the Navy Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine carried out activities on the maritime transfer of a ship-boat group, consisting of three units, from the port Odessa to the port Mariupol.

During the transfer, namely, at 14.15 on November 24, 2018, escort of ships of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the border guard ship of the Russian Federation was found. On the same day, at 15.20 a flight of our ships by a helicopter of the Russian Armed Forces at an altitude of 50 m and a distance of 100 m was fixed. Along with this, another two border guard ships were connected to the escort: the small border guard boat Suzdalets and the search and rescue boat of the FSB of the Russian Federation with the number 737. At 20.00, a FSB patrol boat with a call sign “Velbot” joined the group of Russian boats, which at 20:30  connected with a group of Ukrainian ships and reported that the Kerch Strait allegedly closed for passage from 22: 00 24/11/2018 to 22.00 26/11/2018.

Further, the Ukrainian ships arrived at the point of the anchorage, located 15 miles from the Kerch Strait. During the time of boarding, the aforementioned Russian ships continued to observe for the ships of the Navy of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the distance of 4 miles. At the same time, the despatchers of the “Kerch” and “Kavkaz” ports did not answer to the calls of the Ukrainian Navy ships. Russian border guard boats continued to escort Ukrainian warships in dangerous proximity. At 21.30, the Russian border guard ship came into contact and informed that from 22:00 24/11/2018 until 22.00 26/11/2018 the passage of military ships was temporarily banned in the area (latitude-4503.32 longitude-3622.11, latitude-4451.44 longitude-3622.11, latitude- 4454.32, longitude-3644.28, latitude-4506.31 longitude-3644.28).

However, the corresponding coastal information message was not transmitted in the established manner. At 03.58 25/11/2018, the Ukrainian small-sized armored artillery boat “Berdyansk”, in order to comply with international shipping safety standards, contacted with coastal post of Border Guard service of the Russian Federal Security Service and the sea ports “Kerch” and “Caucasus” and reported the intention to pass the Kerch Strait. The receipt of this information is confirmed. At 04.07 25/11/2018 negotiations were held between the coastal post with the call sign “BEREG-23” and the small patrol boat of the Russian Black Sea Fleet “Suzdalets” for the identification of the Ukrainian navy ships.

At the same time, the Russian ships began dangerous maneuvers around the boats of the Navy of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and the Russian sea tugboat “Don” carried out a ram on tugboat “Yany Kapu” of Ukraine’s Navy. As a result of the collision, the main engine of the ship, the shell plating and guard railing were damaged. Other ships of the FSB of the Russian Federation also tried to ram the Ukrainian boats “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol”, but due to their maneuvering, these attempts ended unsuccessfully.

At 8:04 helicopter Mi-8 of the naval aviation squadron of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation carried out a maneuver of combat approaching the ships of the Ukraine’s Navy. During the aforementioned illegal actions from the Russian ships, the Ukrainian side provided information to the Russian side with reference to international and interstate norms on the passage through the Kerch Strait. However, the authorities of the Russian Federation continued illegal actions. At 13:22, two Alligator K-52 combat helicopters were approached at a height of less than 50 meters, openly demonstrating missile weapons and using an on-board weapons control station, and laser guidance was also used.

In addition, helicopters carried out demonstrations of the attack with the capture and operation of rangefinders, which was signaled by the system of detecting laser radiation small-sized armored artillery boat “Berdyansk”. After completing a series of specified maneuvers, the helicopters of the aggressor country flew to the Crimean peninsula. At 13:46, information was received from Kerch that on the passage under the bridge a movement was blocked in both directions in connection with the landing of the tanker on the shore in front of the bridge.

At 17:59, the military leadership of the Russian Federation sent an unlawful requirement for Ukrainian ships to stop the move. At 18:08 a warning on the use of weapons was received. During the release of Ukrainian ships from the 12 mile zone around the Crimea, at 19:48 Russian ships opened fire from an AK-630 artillery system on the Ukrainian group of ships. As a result of the shelling, a serviceman of the crew of the “Berdyansk” was injured, and the ship was damaged, in connection with which it was forced to stop the movement. Further, the Russian side did not stop the aggressive actions and continued to capture Ukrainian ships with the use of artillery systems …

IR