Two Dead in Sea of Azov Ship Collision
A Russian Coast Guard vessel and a Ukrainian fishing vessel collided in the neutral waters of the Sea of Azov.
The Ukrainian vessel sank following the collision, leaving two dead and three missing. One fisherman was rescued. The men were allegedly poaching in Russia’s territorial waters.
The Russian Border Guard Service said that the Ukrainian fishermen tried to run their vessel into the Russian ship that was pursuing them. The commander of the Coast Guard vessel ordered his crew to approach the Ukrainian vessel and examine it, after numerous failed contact attempts. However, the other vessel headed for the Ukrainian coast.
The Coast Guard vessel continued to pursue the fleeing Ukrainian vessel, firing flares. The “offender” vessel undertook a dangerous maneuver trying to avoid the Russian Coast Guard - it sharply turned toward its pursuers, violating international sea collision warning rules. As a result, it hit the side of the Coast Guard ship and capsized.
Ukraine's First Deputy Foreign Minister Ruslan Demchenko and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin have discussed the situation. The Russian side offered its condolences.
A comprehensive and objective investigation into the fatalities has been requested by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, as well as enforcing measures to prevent future occurrences. They also accused the Russian border guards of using "disproportionate measures".