The Federation Council of Russia approved the statement, which says that violation of procedures of the passage through Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian vessels “might create a military conflict with Russia”, as TASS news agency reported.
The North-Atlantic Alliance might be involved in the conflict. The Russian establishment called NATO policy “destructive.”
“Passage of the Ukrainian ships thought the Kerch Strait is not a question of balance of forces or NATO presence in Black Sea region, it is the issue of Ukraine’s obligation of the set procedures which it knows and used till November 2018. The attempts of Ukraine to act bypassing these procedures might create military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and NATO might be involved in it,” the Russian senators informed.
Representatives of the Federation Council stress that NATO’s support “encourages Ukraine and Georgia towards the reckless scheme.”
“NATO’s support of Georgia during the tragic days of August 2008, and now Ukraine, including November 25, 2018 during illegal crossing of the state border of Russia by the vessels of Ukraine’s Naval Forces in the Kerch Strait, encourages the leadership of these states, confident of their impunity, for new reckless schemes,” the message reads.
On November 25, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian ships were rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.
All 24 sailors on board were captured and delivered to Moscow – 21 of them were delivered to Lefortovo remand center, the rest came to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.
Facing an extension of the sentence term, Ukrainian POWs detained in the Kerch Strait refused to testify in Lefortovo court. Sailors were distributed into six groups, four people in each. On January 15, 2019, Moscow's Lefortovo district court decided to keep 20 Ukrainian sailors in remand until April 24. On January 16, the court extended the detention term for another 4 sailors.