MOSCOW, December 5. /TASS/. Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Defense Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov expects "dirty tricks" from the US in the wake of the Kerch Strait incident, adding that the potential restrictions may affect Russia’s navigation.
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"Considering the existing sway the Americans hold over the Western world, those dirty tricks will commence, unfounded and supported by nothing. It will probably affect navigation," the MP told journalists on Wednesday.
"[Perhaps, it will include] restricting our navigation, entrance to sea ports, refueling, as you may remember, of our vessels en route to the Syrian conflict zone, and so on. They have a wide spectrum of options here," he added.
"There are rules of procedure that must be upheld, and the Americans, lovers of democracy and legitimacy, will definitely know that all corresponding prosecutorial and investigative activities will be carried out," Shamanov stated, stressing that the court will decide the fate of the Ukrainian sailors.
Kerch Strait incident
On November 27, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, endorsed President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree on imposing a 30-day martial law from November 28 in the Vinnitsa, Lugansk, Nikolayevsk, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, as well as Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. Initially, Poroshenko sought to impose martial law for 60 days, but this put into question holding the March presidential election and sparked a public outcry.
The pretext for the decision to declare martial law was an incident in the Kerch Strait on November 25, when three Ukrainian warships, en route from Odessa to Mariupol, illegally crossed Russia’s state border, entered Russia’s territorial waters and started performing dangerous maneuvers.
Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All three Ukrainian ships were detained in the Black Sea. Three Ukrainian servicemen were slightly wounded and received medical assistance, and their lives are not under threat. A criminal case has been launched over the violation of Russia’s state border. Moscow slammed the incident as a provocation.
Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors have been detained in Russia until January 25, 2019.