The three Ukrainian Navy ships were sailing off the coast of Crimea, in the Kerch Strait when they were seized. The ships were stopped in the waters for a while, listening to the Russian Navy tell them to seize their mission of trying to pass through the strait. It was when the Ukrainian Navy was told not to move, that they decided to turn around and haul ass in the opposite direction.
Russian Special Forces then started to chase the ships down in the Sea of Azov. They warned the Ukrainian Navy ships that they’d open fire on them if they continued their movement. So, when the Ukrainian Navy didn’t stop moving, the Russian Navy then opened fire. Three Ukrainian vessels were badly damaged, and six Ukrainian sailors were injured, three seriously.
The Russian Navy then towed the Ukrainian ships back to their own port and is now stashing them there, there’s even reports that the Russian military is using camouflage on the captured boats. It’s unclear what they plan to do with the captured Ukrainian boats though.
The incident in the Sea of Azov on Sunday was the first time Russia and Ukraine have come into open conflict in recent years, however Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed groups and separatists in eastern Ukraine since early 2014.
20 Ukrainian sailors are currently being held by the Russian military, they were likely on board the boats that were captured by the Russian Special Forces at the time of the capture. Also, three of the Ukrainian sailors that were seriously wounded are currently hospitalized in Kerch, Crimea (Gen Staff Chief Vik Muzhenko).
So, all in all three Ukrainian Naval vessels were intercepted by the Russian Navy and the Russian border guards just off of Crimea. In the photo below you’ll see the approximate route of the Ukrainian flotilla, and where the Russian FSB intercepted and seized the boats, as well as where the gunfire broke out between the two navy’s.
The Russian FSB then took the boats and towed them back to an unknown location. In the heat of the incident, Russian Air Force jets were dispatched to the scene, in case of a large incident breaking out. One of the Ukrainian ships that were badly damaged were directly rammed by the Russian Navy.
The Kerch Strait was recently opened but it’s still unclear if the Ukrainian Navy is going to be able to pass through the Kerch Strait, or if they’re blacklisted per say from passing through the Strait. Either way, this incident is still developing, despite the reopening of the Strait. Both sides are preparing for something, and we’re still not sure what exactly they’re preparing. Eyes are on Russia and Ukraine at the moment.
In the “featured photo” you’ll see the Russian Navy blocking off the Kerch bridge with one of their ships. Also, you’ll see Russian Su-25s in the photo, they were frequently making passes over the area, I can only guess what they were going to use them for. Image source @StratSentinel on Twitter.