Putin refuses to release Ukrainian sailors and ships, theguardian.com

[…] Putin gave conflicting accounts of the Kerch incident. He first alleged that the Ukrainian boats, two small gunboats and a tugboat, had been trying to cross the strait in secret, when they clashed with the Russian coastguard.

The Ukrainian tugboat was rammed by Russian vessels, and one of the gunboats was fired on, sustaining damage in the hull and the bridge. Moscow said the clash took place inside Russia’s territorial waters, which extend 12 miles (20km) from the coastline, which Ukraine denies. Kiev says its vessels notified the Russian maritime authorities of their intention of going through the strait and that the Russians opened fire on its vessels after they had turned around and were heading away from the strait into the open wars of the Black Sea.

In his remarks in Buenos Aires, Putin appeared to confirm some of Kiev’s claims, conceding that the Ukrainian and Russian vessels had been in contact with each other before the incident, and that the Ukrainians had refused to use a Russian pilot to help them navigate the narrow strait. The Ukrainians reject Russian insistence that they use a Russian pilot, saying it is not required by a 2003 agreement on sharing the waterway, and is a recently imposed means of controlling Ukrainian access. Läs artikel