The regime of Ukrainian oligarch-president Petro Poroshenko is attempting to provoke an armed conflict with Moscow in waters off the Russian Republic of Crimea.
Early on November 25, the small armoured gunboats Nikopol and Berdyansk as well as the estuary tug Yani Kapu of the Ukrainian Navy entered Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea. The warships were moving towards the Kerch Strait. According to the Ukrainian Navy, the warships’ goal is to reach the Ukrainian port of Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.
Furthermore, the Ukrainian side has not sent a request to the Russian side over its moves in the Kerch Strait where the traffic is regulated under a schedule approved by the captain of the Russian sea port. The Ukrainian vessels “are carrying out dangerous maneuvers and are disobeying the Russian authorities’ demands,” according to the Federal Security Service’s Border Service in Crimea.
The Ukrainian warships were intercepted by several Sobol-class patrol boats, the coast guard ship Don, Mangust-class patrol boats, and the corvette Suzdalets. The estuary tug Yani Kapu was even rammed by the Russian warship.
The biggest Russian warship, involved in tthe operation is the Svetlyak-class PSKR-927. It’s armed with the AK-176M 76.2 mm naval gun and other weapons.
The Russian side also closed the traffic under the Kerch bridge.
Fueling the tensions further, the Ukrainian Navy sent Gurza-class small armored artillery boats towards the area where the aforementioned three Ukrainian warships were intercepted. However, they did not enter Russian territorial waters.
A group of Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters were deployed near the Kerch Strait.
The Poroshenko regime is intentinally fueling tensions in the region provoking Russian coastal guard and naval forces. According to local experts and political figures, Poroshenko seeks to use the possible escalation in order to gain an upper hand in the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election in 2018. His regime is currently facing a fully-fledged political crisis while the Ukrainian state is about to face a full economic collapse. The war or an emergency state is the only real option for Poroshenko to guarantee his power.
Some Russian politicians even compared Poroshenko’s actions with actions of the Saakashvili regime in Georgia ahead of the 2008 war in South Ossetia. Then, Georgian troops were also fueling the situation in the region by various provocations.
Another point of tensions is the region of Donbass eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to shell positions of forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) despite the formal ceasefire regime established in the area.