MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev has said that Kiev is trying to provoke Russia into taking harsh measures by detaining vessels for visiting Crimea.
On Thursday, the UNN news agency reported citing Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service that 15 vessels calling in Crimea had been detained in the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol. The Border Guard Service noted that it was keeping an eye on another 940 vessels, most of them serving Crimean ports.
"Kiev believes it is crucial to provoke Russia into imposing countermoves that are as harsh as possible, preferably with the use of force so that it could then appeal to European agencies with allegations about Russian aggression. Judging by Europe’s recent statements, we can see that this scheme might work," Kosachev told TASS, adding that the Europeans "have already expressed concern over legitimate inspections of foreign vessels by Russian agencies."
However, the Europeans have failed to mention the fact that relations between Moscow and Kiev had been marred through the fault of Ukraine, which arrested the Nord vessel and illegally detained its captain, Kosachev pointed out.
"Of course, retaliatory measures are needed. They should be within the framework of laws, the way it has been until now, and with clear repercussions for the Ukrainian ‘pirates,’ so that Kiev realizes that lawlessness at sea will result in damage to Ukraine itself and this is what is actually happening now," Kosachev explained.
He added that if the situation showed no signs of improvement, the Foreign Affairs Committee would discuss the issue at a meeting with law enforcement agencies, as was the case after the Nord’s seizure.
The Nord vessel seizure
In March 2018, Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service detained the Nord fishing vessel, whose crew included ten Russian nationals, in the Sea of Azov. Its captain, Vladimir Gorbenko, was charged with "violating the entry and exit rules to Ukraine’s temporarily occupied territory" and illegal fishing. The crewmembers were prevented from leaving Ukraine with Russian passports until they were exchanged for Ukrainian sailors on October 30.
The seized Nord vessel was put up for sale by the Ukrainian authorities. The first auction scheduled for November 7 did not take place. However, Kiev announced plans to auction it off again reducing the opening price.