BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) released a video of three alleged Ukrainian crew members speaking about the Kerch Strait incident on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, Security Services detained three Ukrainian vessels which breached Russian territorial waters.
In the video statements released by the FSB, the sailors, who were reportedly on board the detained vessels, describe the Kerch Strait incident.
One of the crew members, who is identified by the FSB as Andrey Drach, officer of the Main Directorate of Military Counterintelligence of the Ukraine’s Security Service, confirmed that Russia’s Coast Guard repeatedly warned the vessels against breaching its territorial waters.
“On the way to Mariupol through the Kerch Strait we reached the territorial waters of the Russian Federation where the Border Service of the Russian Federation warned us that that we violated the legislation of the Russian Federation. They told us repeatedly to leave the territorial waters of the Russian Federation.”
His statement is confirmed by another sailor, who is identified by the FSB as a sailor from the ‘Nikopol’ boat, Sergey Tsybizov: “We sailed further on ‘Nikopol’ and Russian vessels contacted us and requested us to stop and reverse.”
In the third statement, released by the FSB, the man identified as Vladimir Lesovoy, captain of the third rank, said that he was aware that the actions of the Ukrainian vessels’ crew was a “provocation in its nature.”
According to an FSB statement, on Sunday “at around 7:00AM MSK [04:00 GMT], three vessels of the Ukrainian Naval Forces breached articles 19 and 21 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which determines coastal states’ right to ensure security at sea.”
The FSB said that weapons were used to make the Ukrainian vessels stop after “dangerous maneuvering.” Three Ukrainian military personnel were injured as a result and received medical attention.
According to the Ukrainian authorities, their vessels had the right to pass freely through the Kerch Strait under international law. However, the FSB stated that Ukrainian vessels breached territorial waters that belonged to Russian Federation before Crimea’s referendum, and therefore did not have such a right without applying for a pass.
In the statement, the FSB also accuses Kiev on organising ‘provocation’ in the Kerch Strait, which was coordinated by two Security Service of Ukraine’s members on board of the vessels.
Kiev denies any accusations with the Command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine putting the blame on the Russian side for “its aggressive actions.”
Video credit: Ruptly