Chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Viktor Muzhenko stated during a speech in the Verkhovna Rada that Russia used combat aircraft and electronic warfare systems against Ukrainian ships.
According to Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (The Weekly Mirror) on Monday, November 26, Muzhenko presented data showing that Ukrainian armored boats were attacked by a Su-30 fighter. The plane launched two missiles. Ukrainian Naval Command lost contact with the other ships because the Russian military used electronic warfare systems. The international automatic identification system (AIS) was also blocked.
“These actions are an act of direct aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, since the ships are the sovereign territory of the state to which they belong,” emphasized Muzhenko. He clarified that the three wounded Ukrainian sailors, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, are in the Kerch at Pirogov hospital. The location of the remaining military personnel is still unknown.
On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.
Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “manoeuvring dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdiansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.