Ukraine trying to takes it out on Russian tanker?

Ukraine trying to takes it out on Russian tanker?

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has detained Russia’s Nika Spirit tanker at the port of Izmail yesterday, claiming that it was the Neyma tanker that had blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships during the Kerch Strait incident, the SBU said in a statement.

"The Ukrainian Security Service and Military Prosecutor’s Office have detained Russia’s Neyma tanker that blocked the movement of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait. A pre-trial investigation made it clear that Russian FSB border guards had carried out an act of armed aggression against Ukraine’s Nikopol and Berdyansk warships and the Yany Kapu tugboat in the Kerch Strait at the direct order of senior FSB officials," TASS cited the statement as saying.

According to Ukrainian border guards, the Nika Spirit tanker flying the Russian flag was identified at the port of Izmail through its IMO number and the Equasis information system as the Neyma tanker that had been used to shut the Kerch Strait in the Autumn 2018.

The SBU added that a group of investigators and military prosecutors had searched the tanker with court permission, seizing documents, radio communication recordings made during the incident and logbooks. The tanker’s crew members were questioned.

The tanker "has been recognized as real evidence, investigators plan to request a court to arrest it," the SBU noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is investigating the circumstances of Ukraine’s decision to detain a Russian tanker to take appropriate steps. "We are studying the details of what has happened to take appropriate measures," the Russian diplomatic agency stressed. "If the Russians were taken hostage, then this will be qualified as a brazen violation of the international law and consequences will ensue quickly."

On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian naval ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet, and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters.

A criminal investigation was opened into the border incident. The Ukrainian ships’ crew members were put into custody. They are charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code and may face up to six years in prison if found guilty.

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