The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation. Among the crew members of the Ukrainian ships that had violated the Russian border were two members of Ukraine’s security services who had practically led the special operation.
On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. 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, according to the treaty, are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.
The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.