27 November 2018 — South Front
On November 27th, Ukraine’s state security agency confirmed that its intelligence officers were among the crew of the seized Ukrainian ships.
According to the SBU’s statement the officers were fulfilling counterintelligence operations for the Ukrainian navy, in response to “psychological and physical pressure” by Russian spy services. No details were provided, however it demanded that Russia stop any such activity.
Late on November 26th, Russia’s FSB said that there were SBU officers on board the ships, saying that this is another proof of a provocation staged by Ukraine.
The Russian FSB security agency released a video of three crewmembers of the detained Ukrainian gunboats. In the interviews, the three seamen all confirmed that they violated the Russian border. Mainstream media scrutinizes the interviews, claiming that the men are talking “under duress” and that one of them “was clearly reading from a teleprompter”.
In an escalation of absurdity, Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko claimed that Russian aviation was used against the two gunboats and the tugboat.
“Today it became known that Russian aviation was also used during the attack on the Ukrainian ships. A Su-30 fighter jet launched two missiles,” Muzhenko said.
That is unlikely, since there are only reports of several wounded sailors, who are being treated in the Kerch Pirogov hospital. If missiles were, in fact, launched at the boats they wouldn’t get tugged to the Kerch port, because they would simply be in pieces.
In the early hours of November 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern over the escalation with Ukraine and the martial law during a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin reported.
According to the statement, Putin placed all blame on Ukraine and said the escalation was caused by it due to political reasons.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel in the conversation with Putin stressed the need for de-escalation and dialogue.
The Kremlin warned that the martial law that is to go into effect on November 28th in Ukraine might cause an escalation in the country’s east.
Germany’s foreign minister is suggesting that Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine could work together to resolve tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas “called on Russia and Ukraine to show the greatest possible restraint, and offered to work on a solution in the Normandy Format.” He further added that “we must do everything for de-escalation, to prevent this crisis turning into an even more serious crisis for security in Europe.”
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is urging Russia and Ukraine to refrain from “any further provocations” and engage in dialogue to reduce tensions. OSCE secretary general Thomas Greminger said in a statement that “immediate de-escalation is both urgent and essential.” He, similarly, to the UN and the EU, urged Moscow and Kiev “to exercise restraint, step back from any further provocations and immediately engage in dialogue to reduce the risk of further tensions in the region.”
In general, it appears that Ukraine’s “provocation play” appears to be unraveling and come undone at the seams. Thus, Ukraine is attempting to make as many questionable and maybe even absurd claims to see what will get some traction.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Ukraine Imposes Martial Law, Calls On Foreign States To Deploy Warships, Observers In Black Sea, Sea Of Azov
- Detained Ukrainian Servicemen Confirm They Provoked Black Sea Incident With Russia Upon Order From Their Command
- Information War Against Russia. Kerch Strait Maritime Incident
- Ukraine Released Intercepted Russian Radio Communications During The Black Sea Incident (Analysis)
- Russia-Ukraine Black Sea Military Crisis: On The Brink Of War