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Ukrainian ships violated rules of passage of Kerch Strait, operating for 20 years - FSB

Furhermore the weapons found on them exceed standard, FSB Border Service representative stressed

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Ukrainian ships, detained on November 25 in the Black Sea, violated the rules of passage of the Kerch Strait, operating for 20 years, First Deputy Head of the Coast Guard Department of the FSB Border Service Aleksey Volsky told reporters.

He recalled that initially the Ukrainian sailors stated that they did not plan to go through the Kerch Strait, this fact was documented. "Not a single vessel had filed applications at the time of approaching the Kerch Strait. ... Although they knew the rules for the passage of the Kerch-Yenikale Canal. These rules have been in effect for more than 20 years and have always been respected by both Russian and Ukrainian ships," he said.

The weapons that were found on the Ukrainian ships detained in the Black Sea exceed standard, Volsky emphasized.

"During the inspection, weapons and ammunition were found at the detained vessels that exceeded the basic ammunition load," he said.

Ukrainian ships went into military combat readiness during the incident in the Kerch Strait, uncovering the guns, at a time when there were 166 civilian vessels awaiting passage in the strait area, Volsky added.

"One can only guess what any even accidental artillery fire could have lead to in such a busy navigable area," he said. "At 8:30 on October 25, the crews of the Russian border ships recorded the moment when Ukrainian Navy ships were brought on alert," he added. Thus, according to him, actions of the Ukrainian sailors "posed a threat to the safety of navigation."

"At the same time, <...> and this can be seen on video recordings, border ships of Russia’s FSB did not bring their artillery installations and combat crews on high alert at that time," Volsky said

According to the FSB, in the morning of November 25, three ships from the Ukrainian Navy - the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu - illegally crossed Russia’s border. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons were used. A criminal investigation has been opened into the border incident.