MAJOR: Ukraine stops a Russian tanker for blocking Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait

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IZMAIL, Ukraine – The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) stopped the Russian oil tanker NEYMA in the port of Izmail, in the Ukrainian region of Odessa, in retaliation for the alleged blockade of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait, which connects the Azov Sea with the Black, reported the press service of the SBU.

“The Security Service of Ukraine together with the Military Prosecutor’s Office stopped the Russian oil tanker NEYMA that had blocked Ukrainian military ships in the Kerch Strait,” the statement said.

For its part, a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Kiev should be aware of the possible consequences of the detention of Russian oil tanker.

On November 25, 2018, three ships of the Ukrainian Navy violated the Russian border upon entering a provisionally closed area of the Black Sea and advanced towards the Kerch Strait, which joins the Black and Azov seas and separates the peninsula from Crimea from the rest of the Russian territory.

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Ukrainian ships performed dangerous maneuvers and turned a deaf ear to the demand to stop, so they were arrested along with their crew.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said that the Ukrainian military knows the rules of navigation in the area and violated them on purpose. Russia opened a criminal case for the incursion into its territorial waters of several ships.

Political scientist and military analyst Andréi Koshkin, head of the department of political science and sociology at the Russian University of Economics Plekhanov, suggested that the provocation was initiated by the Ukrainian authorities themselves.

“Most likely, the violation of the border was due to the decision of the Ukrainian president, Petró Poroshenko. The initiative would have to do with the country’s internal policy, particularly with the electoral campaign,” he said.

For its part, a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Kiev should be aware of the possible consequences of the detention of Russian oil tanker.

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