Disinfo: In November 2018 three Ukrainian ships violated Russian territorial waters near the Kerch strait


On the 18th of November 2019, Moscow handed over to Ukraine the three ships that in November 2018  were seized by Russian authorities because they violated Russian territorial waters near the Kerch Strait.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Kerch incident.

On the 25th of November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members.

Russia stated they were in Russian waters. However, according to the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia, the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov are the internal waters of both Russia and Ukraine. The agreement gives both parties the power to inspect suspicious vessels. Furthermore, both the 2003 bilateral agreement and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide for freedom of navigation.

On the 25th May on 2019, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia should release the sailors detained in the Kerch Strait and return the ships to Ukraine.

Twenty-four military sailors returned to Ukraine on 7 September as part of a mutual release of detainees by Ukraine and Russia. On 18 November 2019, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had handed three naval ships back to Ukraine.

Read here similar cases about the Kerch incident.


  • Reported in: Issue 174
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/11/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, War crimes, Military, War in Ukraine, Crimea


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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