ST. PETERSBURG, November 28. /TASS/. Navigation via the Kerch-Yenikale Canal, which connects the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, now proceeds according to the regular schedule, Crimea’s transport minister Sergei Karpov has told TASS.
Navigation via the Kerch-Yenikale Canal was closed for security reasons on Sunday following the Ukrainian Navy’s provocative actions. However, the restrictions were lifted early on Monday, shortly after the detention of Ukrainian ships. The director general of the Crimean Seaports company, Alexei Volkov, earlier said that maritime traffic via the Kerch-Yenikale Canal resumed at about 4:00 Moscow time on Monday.
"In the morning [of Monday, November 26], we started operations to resume the traffic (of civilian vessels). Right now, ships are navigating in line with the schedule," the Crimean official told TASS on the sidelines of the International Transport Infrastructure Forum now under way in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.
There were earlier reports that three Ukrainian warships, namely the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu, had illegally crossed Russia’s state border early on Sunday, before making another attempt of committing illegal actions in the country’s territorial waters later in the evening, according to the Russian Federal Security Service’s Border Service in Crimea. The Ukrainian vessels ignored legitimate demands of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet for an immediate stop, performing dangerous maneuvers. Weapons had been used in order to stop the Ukrainian ships, which were detained in the Russian territorial waters. Criminal proceedings had been initiated on violation of the state border of the Russian Federation.
The Treaty on the Legal Status of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, signed in 2003, confirmed their status as domestic waters of Russia and Ukraine. The sides agreed on the joint usage and protection of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and introducing restrictions for vessels of third countries.