181127 MBAK 0Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine Releases a Video Account with a Timeline of Russian Military Aggression against Ukrainian Navy Vessels in the Kerch Strait.  At the same time Defense Express has gained access to documents that could complement the GPU’s video account of Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian navy vessels. The documents seen by Defense Express provide additional information on the actions by the two sides and the identities of the perpetrators of this attack.

 

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (GPU) has released a video account with a detailed timeline of an armed attack conducted by Russian Navy forces against a group of Ukrainian naval vessels while attempting to transit through the Kerch Strait and into the Sea of Azov on November 25, 2018.

 

The GPU compiled video account encompasses all the actions by Ukrainian vessels beginning from their exit from the Odessa harbor on Friday 23 November 2018 up to their interception and the capture of their crews on 25 November 2018.

 

Related news: PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE OF UKRAINE RELEASED RECONSTRUCTION OF THE EVENTS IN THE KERCH STRAIT

 

“Russia claims it strictly abides by international law. An agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the state border between Ukraine and Russia (28 January 2003) with an attached description and a map denotes the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as the territory of Ukraine. Under another bilateral agreement on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, Ukrainian commercial ships and military vessels have the right to free navigation through the sea and the strait,” the GPU says in the video.

 

The video offers a detailed timeline of the events of Russia’s military aggression against the Ukrainian Navy and of the capture of Ukrainian Navy sailors in the Sea of Azov.

 

 

It notes that the Russian Federation is jamming maritime radio communications and navigation networks and, by so doing, it effectively undermines the safety of international maritime navigation and illegally interferes in operation of global maritime communication systems.

 

The video furthermore contains a table of Russian forces involved in an act of military aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait.

 

Defense Express has gained access to documents that could complement the GPU’s video account of Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian navy vessels. The documents seen by Defense Express provide additional information on the actions by the two sides and the identities of the perpetrators of this attack.

 

Russias armed assault 1

Start of the Ukrainian navy vessels’ travel toward the Kerch Strait, 25 November 2018:

05:23 – Three Ukrainian navy vessels – the Gyurza-M-class artillery boats ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Nikopol’ and the tugboat ‘Yany Kapu’ begin sailing towards the Kerch Strait, with the transport ‘Horlivka’ standing off

12 nautical mile limit

06:08 – the three Ukrainian navy vessels enter the 12 nautical mile limit area (two hours after notification) at 44°53’10’’N, 36° 33’52’’E.

 

Russias armed assault 2Russia’s blocking maneuvers against a group of Ukrainian navy vessels bound to the Kerch Strait, November 25, 2018:

06:23 – Russian Coast Guard vessels including the ‘Don’ and ‘Izumrud’, and three FSB Border Guard Service patrol boats approach the Ukrainian navy vessels and begin performing dangerous, course blocking maneuvers against them.

06:35, 06:44 – Ukrainian navy vessels continue on their course; the Russian Coast Guard ships ‘Don’ and ‘Izumrud’ intentionally strike and ram the Ukrainian tug ‘Yany Kapu’ at 44°56’00″N, 36°30’08″E and at 44°56’06″N, 36°30’05″E, respectively.

07:22 -- Ukrainian navy vessels continue on their course; the Don intentionally rams into the Yany Kapu at 44°59’05″N, 36°3135″E.

 

Russias armed assault 3

Russia’s blocking maneuvers against three Ukrainian Navy vessels bound to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, November 25, 2018:

07:52 – the Ukrainian navy vessels continue on their course; notify the Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) at the port of Kerch about the damages sustained and the need to get repaired at the nearest port location in Ukraine (45°0112″N, 36°3045″E).

08:40 -- the Ukrainian navy vessels continue on their course; fail to obtain a permit from the Kerch Port’s VTS to pass through the Strait of Kerch; ordered by the FSB to stop and anchor at a location 5 km east of the village of Zavitne (anchor position #471). Provocative maneuvers by Russian military aircraft: a Mi-8 helicopter of the Russian Black Sea Fleet was spotted twice flying in an assault like manner at the height of about 100 m over the Ukrainian navy vessels.

08:56 – the three Ukrainian navy vessels enter the Kerch Strait, anchor at position #471 (Sector ‘С’, shared Ukrainian-Russian inland waters).

 

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Russia’s armed assault and seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessel, November 25, 2018:

11:00-17:00 – Ukrainian vessels lose communication with the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters following Russian electronic warfare attacks that had disabled their HF-, VHF- and satellite communication links, and AIC system. Ukrainian crews are subjected to intense psychological pressure.

13:05-13:19 – Russian aircraft continue provocative maneuvers over Ukrainian vessels: two Ka-52 choppers and two Su-25SM airplanes fly at dangerously low height (as low as 50 m) over the Ukrainian vessels with their weapons control and aiming systems turned on.

13:42 -- Russia anchores a large cargo vessel under the Kerch Strait bridge to physically block access to the strait

14:03 – the Russian side strongly prohibits the passage through the Kerch Strait for the three Ukrainian navy vessels.

17:32 – Ukrainian navy vessels took an order from the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters to return to Ukrainian Navy base in Odesa

17:59 – Russian FSB Border Guard Service patrol ship ‘Izumrud’ performs course blocking maneuvers against the three Ukrainian navy vessels

18:57 – Ukrainian vessels lose communication with the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters following Russian electronic warfare attacks.

19:48 – the Berdyansk sustains a damage to its pilothouse when it had taken fire from a Russian vessel while outside the 12 nautical mile limit area at 44°5100″N, 36°2304″E.

20:01 – Berdyansk vessel’s commander issues mayday calls using insecure communications

20:03-20:26 – FSB special forces soldiers, assisted by Su-30/25 fighter jets and Ka-52 choppers assault and seize the Ukrainian vessels while outside of the 12 nautical mile limit (13-14 miles off shore).

 

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Russia’s armed assault and seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessel, November 26, 2018:

05:30 – the armored gunboats ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Nikopol’, and the tugboat ‘Yany Kapu’ towed to the Kerch harbor, the Berdyansk and Nikopol have their Harris radios removed and seized by the Russians; crews forcibly removed from the vessels with their personal documents and cell phones seized from them.

 

Consequences of the Russian armed attack against three Ukrainian navy vessels on November 25, 2018 are as follows: three Ukrainian Navy servicemen sustained severe injuries in the attack: Andriy Artemenko, Vasyl Soroka, Andriy Eider.

 

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The documents seen by Defense Express claim that the overt aggression against the Ukrainian navy vessels was perpetrated by Russia’s Senior military leaders:

 

Gennadiy MEDVEDEV, Vice Admiral, deputy head of the FSB Border Guard Service in charge of the Coast Guard.

 

He issued an order to assault with weapons and intercept the three Ukrainian vessels.

 

Sergey STANKEVICH, Rear Admiral, Head of the Crimean Branch of the FSB Border Guard Service. He issued orders to intercept and seize the Ukrainian gunboats and the tug.

 

Andrey SHEYIN, Captain First Rank, head of the Coast Guard Department at the Crimean Branch of the FSB Border Guard Service. He ordered the officer in charge of the Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Don’ to intercept the Ukrainian tugboat.

 

Ruslan ROMASHKIN, Head of Service, Crimean Branch of the FSB Border Guard Service.

 

Aleksey SHATOKHIN, Defector, ex citizen of Ukraine, Head of the Kerch City Branch, Crimean Branch of the FSB Border Guard Service. He instructed the officer in charge of the Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Don’ about the methods for assaulting the Ukrainian navy vessels.

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According to the papers three Russia’s servicemen identified as hands-on perpetrators:

 

Aleksey SALYAEV, Captain Second Rank, commanding officer of the FSB Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Don’. He ordered his crew to strike and ram into the Ukrainian tugboat ‘Yany Kapu’.

 

Andrey SHYPITSYN, Captain Second Rank, commanding officer of the FSB Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Izumrud’.

 

Sergey SHCHERBAKOV, Captain Third Rank, commanding officer of the FSB Coast Guard patrol vessel ‘Suzdalets’.

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The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office and Security Service have each initiated criminal proceedings against eight Russian nationals on charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and attempted murder of two persons or more.

 

The Russian actions fall under the definition of aggression under Clause d, Article 3, United Nations Security Council Resolution #3314, December 14, 1974.

 

These actions could not occur without approval from the Russian military and political leadership – the President of Russia, Minister of Defense, Chief of the General Staff, Navy Commander, and the FSB chief.

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Legal assessment of the event occurred on November 25, 2018:

  • The actions taken by the Ukrainian service members are legally acceptable and consistent with provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 2003 Agreement between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, as well as the safety of navigation regulations
  • Russian assault against Ukrainian navy vessels falls under the definition of aggression under Clause d, Article 3, United Nations Security Council Resolution #3314 (December 14, 1974), and is defined as ‘criminal offence’ under Article 3, Conventionfor the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, 1988
  • The Ukrainian service members must be accorded status as prisoners of war under article 4 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949.

 

As reported earlier by Defense Express, on November 25, 2018, Russian special forces have seized three Ukrainian ships that were originally blocked and then fired by Russia in the Kerch Strait.

 

You can find this article in Ukrainian here: ЯК РФ АТАКУВАЛА КОРАБЛІ ВМС УКРАЇНИ В КЕРЧЕНСЬКІЙ ПРОТОЦІ. ВІДЕО

 

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Translation

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