Russia and Ukraine involved in the Black Sea naval standoff

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine have mutually accused each other of violating international law after Russian border guards attempted to arrest two Ukrainian armored artillery ships doing the same thing. Crimea tour en route to a Ukrainian port.

The incident in the Black Sea reflects the growing tensions between Moscow and Kiev around the sea of ​​Azov, which both countries have the right to use.

Russia and Ukraine, whose relations remain extremely tense after Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its support for a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine, have accused each other of harassing each other. .

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Navy announced that she had sent from the small port of Odessa to Mariupol two armored artillery ships and a tugboat, a trip that forces them to cross the Black Sea through the Strait. from Kerch to the sea of ​​Azov.

In a statement, he said the Russian border guards had tried to stop the small flotilla by shelling it, causing minor damage, in an incident that showed Russia was behaving aggressively and illegally.

Russian news agencies reported that the Russian security services of the FSB had accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the trip, which Kiev had denied, and said that Ukrainian vessels were maneuvering dangerously for the purpose. to stir up tensions.

The Ukrainian navy said that the flotilla was still on the move.

Report by Andrew Osborn; Edited by Mark Potter

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