Russian Federation and Ukraine involved in Black Sea naval standoff

Russia,Ukrainian ships,Crimea

Early on November 25, Kyiv said a Russian coast guard vessel rammed a Ukrainian Navy tugboat in the same area as three Ukrainian ships that sailed out of the Black Sea port of Odesa approached the Kerch Strait in an attempt to reach the Sea of Azov port at Mariupol.

The Ukrainian agency claimed that it informed about the intention to make the transition in advance in accordance with worldwide standards in order to ensure the safety of navigation.

The FSB alleges that the Ukrainian side did not file an application for passage and its boats were not included in the timetable for navigation through the Kerch Strait.

The Kerch bridge is seen blocked for ships entrance, near Kerch, Crimea, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.

It made the statement after earlier saying that Russian Federation had opened fire on the ships, which Russian Federation blocked from passing through the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

Two crew members were injured.

The Ukrainian navy said the flotilla was continuing its journey regardless.

Moscow is able to control access between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea after it built a bridge that straddles the Kerch Strait between Crimea and southern Russian Federation.

"Three vessels of the Ukrainian Navy, which have earlier left Berdyans'k for the Kerch Strait, have retraced their course and are moving back to Berdyansk", the FSB said in a statement. It said the collision caused damage to the tugboat's engine, outer hull, and guardrail.

Both countries have accused each other of harassing each other's shipping in Sea of Azov in the past and the U.S. State Department in August said Russia's actions looked created to destabilize Ukraine, which has two major industrial ports there.

Ukraine's foreign ministry said in a statement it wanted a clear response to the incident from the worldwide community.

Ukraine accused a Russian coastguard vessel, named the Don, of ramming one of its tugboats in "openly aggressive actions".

The incident came amid a confrontation at sea between Ukrainian and Russian vessels.

"Such things are not carried out without the head of state's knowledge, consent, and - I think - initiative", Pushkov told Russia's state-run Rossia 24 TV channel.

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