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KRASNODAR, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian fishermen are responsible for the collision with a Russian coast guard patrol ship in the Sea of Azov, the Federal Security Service’s Boarder Guard Division in Krasnodar Territory said on Thursday, July 18.
The incident occurred in the evening of July 17. Coast guards spotted a boat without identification marks in an area forbidden for navigation near the Dolzhanskaya Spit in the Sea of Azov. After futile attempts to get in touch with the intruders, the coast guard ship captain made the decision to approach the boat and examine it. However the boat sped away towards Ukraine. The coast guards started pursuing it, while continuing to give sound signals and firing flares into the air to make the boat stop.
However the boat made a precarious manoeuvre and turned sharply towards the pursuing coast guard ship, breaking international regulations for preventing collisions at sea. As a result, the boat ran against the patrol ship and overturned.
The coast guards rescued one of the persons from the boat, presumably a 49-year-old citizen of Ukraine, who said that there were several more people with him. The bodies of two of them were found later. The search and rescue operation is underway now.
Russian board guards and their Ukrainian colleagues regularly conduct operations against illegal fishing in the Sea of Azov. About 400 such illegal actions have been registered in the area since the beginning of the year.