Ukraine is preparing a provocation in the Sea of Azov with the aim of discrediting the Russian Border Guard, a source in the Crimea claimed.
“On October 11, agents of the Ukrainian Border Service plan to organize the departure of a patrol vessel from the port of Mariupol to the Sea of Azov with a group of Ukrainian media journalists on board. A video report on alleged aggressive actions by the Border Guard of the Russian Federal Security Service in relation to Ukrainian civilian vessels as well as on the blockade of Ukrainian seaports in the Azov Sea are being reported,” the source said.
Recently, Crimean leader Sergei Aksenov has reported that the Russian Border Guard has tightened control over the waters of the Black and Azov seas because of naval maneuvers by Ukrainian military personnel .
Situation in the Sea of Azov
Since the beginning of this year there have been recorded naval incidents between the two countries in the Azov Sea area. In March, Ukraine detained the Russian fishing vessel Nord, accusing the captain of illegally visiting Crimea “to harm the interests of the State.” In August, the Ukrainian Coast Guard detained the tanker Mekhanik Pogodin with crew on board.
Moscow calls the actions of Kiev “maritime terrorism”, strengthening customs inspections on its part of the sea of Azov. So the Ukrainian side accused Russia of “pursuing a tough policy of stopping and inspecting ships”.
In early September, Ukrainian officials announced plans to establish a naval base off the coast of the Sea of Azov and to transfer two armored boats to the area. In addition, the Security and National Defense Council of Ukraine ordered the reinforcement of the military presence in the Sea of Azov, equipping the Ukrainian coastguard detachments with missiles.
On September 22, the Ukrainian search and rescue ship Donbass and the Korets deep-sea tugboat sailed along the Crimean coast and entered the exclusive economic zone of Russia. Several Russian warships escorted the Ukrainian ships.