Disinfo: Ukrainian ships breached Russian waters


On 25 November 2018, Russian border guards detained Ukrainian ships after the latter entered Russian territorial waters and penetrated the border in the Kerch Strait.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Azov Sea and 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.

Further debunking by Polygraph. For further cases, see here.


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


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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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about US presence in Europe, portraying France as a vassal of the USA. Russian disinformation sources often claim that almost all European countries are no longer truly sovereign and the United States dictate policies to the EU and its member states.

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This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO.

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George Soros involvement in Ukraine is well known, his name is linked to the Orange Revolution and regime changes in this country. Like in Georgia. George Soros himself acknowledged, in an interview with CNN, that he actively contributed to the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. “I created a foundation in Ukraine before it became independent from Russia. The foundation has functioned since then and has played an important role in current events,” explains the financier.


Conspiracy theory based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about George Soros. 

A foundation sponsored by George Soros, the International Renaissance Foundation, as part of the Open Society Foundations, was established in Ukraine in April 1990, following the aim to assist the transition to democracy and a market economy. At that time, the Open Society Foundations’ focused in former Communist states on modernization and reforming of national institutions and support for civil society groups/organizations. The Foundation in Ukraine has many projects in different areas, such as fighting corruption by strengthening transparency and accountability, supporting investigative journalism projects, supporting the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine since 2014 as well as the development of independent media outlets. Since 2014, the foundation has been among the founders of StopFake.org, an initiative dedicated to exposing lies and myths about Ukraine. More about George Soros foundation in Ukraine read here.