Ukraine Council Expects to Declare War Against Russia After Maritime Incident

Russia says Ukraine ships illegally entered Russian waters

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine are once again soaring this weekend, with reports that Russia has seized three Ukrainian navy vessels off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula. Crimea is de facto under Russian control, but Ukraine considers it part of their territory.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine accused Russian ships of ramming their tugboat in the Sea of Azov and opened fire on the gunships, injuring two. Russia claims that the Ukrainian ships were illegally in Russian waters at the time, and that the Sea was closed for security reasons.

Ukraine, which has been talking up war with Russia for years, is quickly escalating, with the National Security and Defense Council planning a midnight session at which they intend to declare war on Russia, and will urge parliament to impose martial law across Ukraine, a vote which will happen Monday.

What this declaration of war would mean remains to be seen, as Ukraine clearly lacks the military to fight a land war with Russia. The martial law measure would likely be a pretext to launch an attack on ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The boats involved in this incident were identified as BK-02 Berdyansk and BK-03 Nikopol, two small Gyurza-M class artillery boats, and the Yany-Kapu tugboat. Ukraine has a limited navy, particularly since the Crimean secession in 2014, as most naval assets held there were given to the Russian Federation.

 

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.