The first time Putin has commented on the incident in the Kerch Strait
According to him, is “dishonest game” the Ukrainian authorities before the elections.
The President of Russia Vladimir Putin commented on the conflict in the Kerch Strait, where the Russian border guards on 25 November detained three Ukrainian warships. The Russian leader at the plenary session of the investment forum “Russia calling!” called the incident a provocation, which was organized by the current Ukrainian government and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine.
Putin called the incident in the Kerch Strait “dirty game” in Ukraine and the pretext for the imposition of martial law in the country. According to the Russian President, is due to the low electoral rating of Poroshenko.
In his opinion, the Ukrainian leader seeks to exacerbate the situation in Ukraine and create “insurmountable obstacles” to his competitors in the presidential election scheduled for 31 March 2019.
Putin said that in 2014 because of the situation in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, the military situation, the Ukrainian authorities did not enter. And now, according to him, the decision was made because of the “border incident, no more.” Before the Russian President has not publicly commented on the incident.
Sunday, November 25, the Russian border guards to forcibly detained in the Kerch Strait three Ukrainian military vessel (two boats “Berdyansk” and “Nikopol” and tug “Yana Capa”) and members of their crews — a total of 24 citizens of Ukraine (of which 12 are already arrested by the court). Three Ukrainian sailors were injured during the arrest, was taken to hospital.
FSB opened a criminal case on violation of the state border. As claimed by the Russian secret service, Ukrainian ships without notice were held in the territorial waters of Russia, did not respond to requests to stop, and maneuvered in a dangerous manner. Of the Ukrainian Navy, in turn, argue that pre-notified the Russian side that controls the Kerch Strait, the movement of ships.
Monday, 26 November, the FSB published the video testimony of detainees by the Ukrainian military. One of them — Vladimir Lesovoy said that Ukrainian ships have crossed the border of Russia and deliberately ignored requests to stop by the Russian border guards. According to him, he was aware that the actions of groups of ships are provocative. Second, Andrew Drach, who, according to FSB, is the employee of security Service of Ukraine (SBU), also acknowledged that the Ukrainian ships entered the territorial waters of Russia. Commander of the Ukrainian Navy Igor Voronchenko said that the Ukrainian sailors gave false testimony under pressure.