Russia detained three Ukrainian vessels which attempted to cross the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018. Both Ukrainian and Russian ships have passage rights, but there are strict safety rules, which Moscow said the Ukrainian Navy had breached.
The conflict stopped short of bloodshed and resulted in the arrests of the Ukrainian sailors and their ships for “violation of territorial waters.”
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the November 2018 Kerch Strait incident.
The so-called "safety rules" referred to in the report are not the internationally recognised standards enshrined in long-standing treaties and customary law, but rather a set of makeshift guidelines which Russia unilaterally adopted in 2015 and Kyiv never recognised, given that the regulations are based on Russia's illegal claim to Crimea. Since then, Russian patrols have routinely carried out arbitrary arrests of Ukrainian and foreign ships, demanding that all vessels give "advance notice" of passage through the Kerch area, contrary both to the provisions of the 2003 agreement and to actual navigation safety guidelines.