According to Russian media, 3 more military vessels from the Caspian Fleet were deployed in the Sea of Azov on May 23. These vessels are two Shmel-class river gunboats AK-201 and AK-248, one Zhuk-class patrol boat AK-326.
This passage aims at security in the Sea of Azov taking into consideration recent agressive actions in the region by the Ukrainian side.
On March 25, Ukraine illegally seized the Nord fishing vessel flying the flag of the Russian Federation in the territorial waters of Russia. On May 28, head of the FSB branch in Crimea and Sevastopol Viktor Palagin claimed that suspects of the illegal detention of the Nord vessel had been identified. According to Palagin, all the suspects, which are currently in Ukraine, were put on an international wanted list.
On April 4, a spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Oleg Slobodyan said that all the ships travelling to and out of Crimea without Kiev’s consent would be detained.
On May 4, Russia’s FSB Border Department in Crimea said in a statement that the fishing vessel YMK-0041 (homeported in Ochakiv, Ukraine) had been detained for “illegal fishing” by coastguards.
On May 10, Russian coastguards reportedly detained the Ukrainian fishing boat Amur with two persons on board in the Sea of Azov.
On May 22, Russian media reported about that May 16 extramural decision of the Ukrainian seaside district court of Odessa to seize the Russian vessel Pechora for the extraction of sand on the territory of Crimea. At present, the Pechora vessel is in Crimea.
Over past months, Russian coastguards have increased pressure on the Ukrainian side in the Sea of Azov. Russian coastguards are actively carrying out searches of vessels moving to Ukrainain ports and combatting illegal fishing in the Sea of Azov.