Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the Kerch incident.
On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tugboat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members.
Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.
On 25 May 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. The EU urged Russia to release the captured crew.
Twenty-four military sailors returned to Ukraine on 7 September 2019 as part of a mutual release of detainees by Ukraine and Russia. On 21 November 2019, Russia returned the ships to Ukraine.