On the morning of November 25, conducting a passage from Odessa to Mariupol two small armored artillery craft (SAAB) of Gyurza-M class – Berdyansk and Nikopol ‘- and the raid tug Yany Kapu of the Ukrainian Navy were attacked by a group of 10 Russian Navi ships consisting of Sobol-class patrol boats, the PS Izumrud and Don with the involvement of plane (2 Ka-52, 2 Su-25 and Su-30).
Furthermore, the Ukrainian side had even informed the Russian side of this transition in advance, in accordance with international standards, in particular, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on Cooperation in ‘use. of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
So what was the reason for such aggressive actions by the Russian Navy and what were the objectives of the invaders?
Ramming is not a bombing, but a reason.
First of all, it should be noted that the attack on the Ukrainian tug was carried out through a deliberate collision – by ramming – and not by firing from any type of small arms. That is, in fact, the Russian side can interpret this incident not as a direct attack on a Ukrainian ship, but as an accident – an emergency, from the category “did not deal with control”.
On the other hand, if the Ukrainian SAABs opened fire on the PS Don, this would be a formal reason for the Russians to open fire in response. Indeed, the ram was not an attempt to stop the tugboat, but Russia’s attempt to provoke the Ukrainian side and use this provocation further.
In turn, the Russian side from the very beginning reported that it was the Ukrainian Navy that resorted to provocative actions, secretly keeping quiet about the ramming of the tug of a Ukrainian tug. That is, they expected a subsequent accusation from the Ukrainian side.
Russia, through the construction of the “Kerch Bridge”, is implementing a project to block the Sea of Azov, however, respect for international rights does not allow it to completely block the passage of ships from and to Ukraine across the strait of Kerch. Such an incident could be used by the Russian occupiers as a formal reason for the complete closure of the passage across the strait. Of course, this goes against international law, but as we can see, the Russian Federation has repeatedly ignored it in a rather rude way. If the Kremlin undergoes such a harsh form of blockade, we will have a region suitable for the Russian propaganda narrative about the impoverishment of Ukraine, the collapse of the economy, etc., due to the blockade. the key ports of Azov.
It is also worth noting that the area, which is economically dependent on the sea routes of the Sea of Azov, coincides with the so-called “land route” from Russia to occupied Crimea, which Russian troops did not manage. to “build” during the fierce battles of 2014-2015. Then the advance of the Russian troops was interrupted as Mariupol approached.
But the most worrying thing is that if the Russian Federation succeeds in the project to block Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, it will be able to switch to Ukraine’s blockade in the Black Sea in the long term. This is a much more complicated plan, but, nevertheless, quite feasible.
Against the background of this new phase of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine we can observe a significant activation of the so-called Kremlin trolls in social networks, who manipulate and inflate the hysteria for the imposition of martial law in many regions of Ukraine. The same manipulations and hysteria on the issue come from the so-called “opposition” in parliament – talking heads of Moscow, in fact – which against the backdrop of the upcoming elections impose opinions on the masses that the only way to achieve peace is to surrender and accept. the demands of Moscow. Clearly, Ukraine enters another phase of the confrontation. In such a situation the nation must keep its mind clean, avoid hysteria and maintain cohesion. It is worthless that a few years ago the nationalists-veterans had been publicly underlined the possibility of such a blockade as well as the need to develop the fleet by paying more attention to medium and heavy boats instead of small patrol ones.