Kerch Strait Crisis – details, timeline [Update #7]

A brief insight into today’s Kerch Strait crisis. Ukraine tries to move more forces to the Sea of Azov but is accused of violating territorial waters of Russian Federation. Ukrainian tugboat is rammed by Russian vessel and Russia blocks the Kerch Strait. Ukrainian side is forced to fall back but its move is interrupted by Russians and boats are captured.

Overview

  • Russian vessel rammed Ukrainian tugboat
  • Russia blocks Kerch Strait, no ship can enter or leave the Sea of Azov
  • Russia deploys military jets and helicopters
  • Ukraine puts its forces in the Azov sea on combat alert
  • Both sides exchanged fire, two Ukrainian sailors were wounded
  • Russian forces captured all three Ukrainian ships

The background

It was a question of when this happens, not if. Ever since Russian Federation annexed Crimea and built a bridge across the Kerch Strait, they had an upper hand in this area. The Kerch Strait is the only access to the Sea of Azov where two important Ukrainian harbors (Mariupol, Berdyansk) are located. If you want to slowly bleed out your enemy, it’s a logical step.

Why today

It’s not a first time Ukrainians sent ships from Odesa to Mariupol, they could stop the first convoy a few weeks ago but didn’t. Why? The explanation here is fairly simple. The first convoy, that passed Kerch Strait a few weeks ago, was composed by two rusting ships. Donbas, a commander ship built in 1969 and Korets, a tugboat built in 1973. It simply wasn’t worth it.

However, today it’s a different story. The tugboat alone is worthless but it was accompanied by two Gyurza-M artillery boats, the latest ships produced in Ukraine.

 

Chronicle of events

Sumup of all events.

10:40

  • Ukrainian forces are accused of violating Russian territorial waters
  • Russian vessel rams Ukrainian tugboat

11:00

  • Ukrainian Navy announces its intention to continue to Kerch Strait
  • Russian vessel seen damaged, a cause is unknown

12:20

  • Ukrainian ships are in a range of Kerch Strait
  • Russian Navy blocks the strait and closes it for all traffic

15:45

  • Russian jets were spotted in the vicinity of Kerch Strait
  • Russian attack helicopters, Ka-52, were spotted in the vicinity of Kerch Strait. According to local reports, they were equipped with torpedos.

16:50

  • Russian helicopters Mi-8 were spotted landing near Kerch Strait
  • Ukrainian ships put on combat alert

19:30

  • Ukrainian Navy announce fall back of its ships from Kerch Strait and intention to return back to Odesa
  • Russian Navy blocks their intention
  • Ukraine appeals to UNSC (United Nation Security Council), asks for help

20:28

  • Russian forces opened fire, Ukrainian boats are responding. One Ukrainian sailor is wounded.
  • Ukrainian Gyurza-M was damaged, lost its engine.

21:10

  • Ukrainian president, Mr. Poroshenko, has convened militarily cabined

21:20

  • Both Gyurza-M boats are immobile, the tugboat is forced to stop
  • Russian Spetnatz boarding the boats
  • Two Ukrainian sailors wounded

Sized boats:

Gyurza-M “Berdyansk” Gyurza-M “Nikopol” Tugboat “Yani Kapu”

22:00

  • Southern and Eastern military districts put on alert
  • Ukrainian Navy was alerted. All ships set at sea

22:20

  • Berdyansk and Yani Kapu are immobile and towed, Nikopol can sail on its own
  • Six Ukrainian sailors wounded

23:00

  • Russian State-run media confirmed that Russian forces opened fire and captured three Ukrainian vessels
  • Mr. Turchynov (Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine) stated the action by Russian forces is an act of aggression
  • In one hour, a National Security meeting will take place to discuss martial law

Sources: navy.mil.gov.ua

Jerome

Founder of militaryland.net, follows Ukrainian conflict since 2013 and other current events (Syria, Iraq).

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