Translated by Scott Humor
At 07.10 AM on 25th of November this year, notwithstanding the warnings on the closure of the area of territorial waters of the Russian Federation approaching the Kerch Strait from the direction of the Black Sea, the vessels of the Ukrainian Navy (small armored artillery river boats “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol” and the tug boat “Yana Kapu”) crossed the state border of the Russian Federation in the location with coordinates: Latitude 44° 52′, 7 SH, Longitude 36° 31′, 3 VD (Ш=44° 52′, 7 СШ, Д=36° 31′, 3 ВД) and entered the area temporarily closed to navigation in violation of the requirements of The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) and the Law of the Russian Federation of 1 April 1993 No. 4730-I “On the State Border of the Russian Federation.”
Articles 21 and 22, Sea lanes and traffic separation schemes in the territorial sea
- The coastal State may, where necessary having regard to the safety of navigation, require foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through its territorial sea to use such sea lanes and traffic separation schemes as it may designate or prescribe for the regulation of the passage of ships;
Article 13 of the Federal law “On Internal Sea Waters, Territorial Sea and Adjacent Zone of the Russian Federation” foreign ships, foreign warships, exercising the right of peaceful passage through the territorial sea, must comply with the legislation of the Russian Federation and the rules relating to the peaceful passage through the territorial sea, in respect of:
safety of navigation and regulation of ship traffic, including the use of sea corridors and traffic separation schemes.
After crossing the state border of the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian Navy ships proceeded to the Kerch-Yenikalsky channel in violation of the licensing procedure established by the order of the Ministry of transport of Russia dated October 21, 2015 № 313 “On Approval of Mandatory Regulations in the Seaport of Kerch”.
During the pursuit of the Ukrainian Navy vessels, the requirement to immediately leave the territorial waters of the Russian Federation were repeatedly delivered to the crews by radio in accordance with Article 30 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. Despite all the measures taken by the Russian side, the ships of the Ukrainian Navy were brought into full combat readiness: artillery installations were uncovered, the trunks of artillery installations were raised to an angle of 45 degrees and directed towards the ships and boats of the Russian Federation (in violation of article 19 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, and paragraph 2 of article 11 of FL-155 of July 31, 1998 “On Internal Sea Waters, Territorial Waters and the Adjacent Zone of the Russian Federation”). The Russian side brought to the attention of the Ukrainian Navy ships while in the territorial waters of the Russian Federation that the threat of weapon use will be regarded as a violation of the rules of peaceful passage in accordance with international law and the legislation of the Russian Federation.
The detained military vessels of the Ukrainian Navy were armed with the following types of weapons and ammunition:
- 30 mm gun – 4 units.
- Automatic grenade launcher AGS -17 – 4 units.
- Machine gun “DShK” 12.7 mm – 2 units.
- Machine gun PKT 7.62 mm – 4 units.
- Automatic AK-47 5.45 mm – 13 units.
- Gun PM 9mm – 4 units.
- Traumatic gun 9mm -1 unit.
- Signal pistol PS – 1 unit.
- High-explosive fragmentation projectile 30 mm – 765 units. + (32 zinc containers, unnumbered, establishing the correct number is not yet possible)
- VOG-17 High Explosive Grenade – 1975 units.
- VOG grenade -495 units.
- RGD-5 grenade – 40 units.
- Grenade RG-42 – 48 units.
- Grenade RGD – 20 units.
- UZRGM-2 fuze – 30 units.
- Fuse RG-42 – 38 units.
- 30 mm signal cartridge – 87 units.
- Cartridges 7,62 mm – 9865 units.
- Cartridges 5,45 mm – 11736 units.
- Cartridges 9 mm – 1189 units.
- Cartridges 12,7 mm – 612 units.
- Bayonet-knife – 15 units.
- AK-74 magazine – 42 units.
- PM magazine – 4 units.
(Cannon 30 mm AGS-17 and PKT is 1 the gun mount, there are 4 cannons, two on each boat.).
The inspection of the detained Ukrainian military boat “Nikopol” discovered a document titled: “A Checklist of Readiness of the boat “Nikopol” for the sea deployment from 9.00 to 18.00 from 23.11.2018 to 25.11.2018 of the current year” in which a senior of the group of ships was given a direct order to make the transition from Odessa to Berdyansk in the “covert order” while “focusing on ensuring a stealth approach to the Kerch-Yenikalsky channel and passing through it.”
Besides, on the same boat was found a hand-written summary of the rules of navigation established by the Russian Federation for the Kerch-Yenikalsky channel, from which follows that the Ukrainian seamen were well informed on the order of its passing.