“Unlike Ukraine, we don’t drag our military into adventures and do not shirk international law. And if Ukraine indicated its position, pushing it into international waters, then it shouldn’t make loud statements about ‘ramming, attacks, provocations.’ Moreover, our vessels have moved far ahead in their technological development, we do not use ramming as a tactic.”
It was Russia’s 2014 military adventure in Crimea that made it possible for Russia to exert more control over the Kerch Strait. Additionally, Russia continues to occupy part of Ukraine’s Donbas region militarily, and that conflict still claims the lives of soldiers on both sides, sometimes daily. However, Russia released a video apparently taken from the bridge of one of the Russian Coast Guard vessels. It clearly shows that the Russian ship did not change course as it bears down on the Ukrainian tugboat, apparently deliberately ramming the tugboat. Later, Ukraine’s General Staff released what it said were radio intercepts from the Russian Coast Guard vessels, which if authentic, shows that the Russians deliberately attacked the Ukrainian vessels. Debunking by Polygraph.
On November 25 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 in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.