Why You Should Care About War Between Russia and Ukraine | Russia Desk | NowThis

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Tension between Russia and Ukraine reached the highest point in years after the Russian military seized three Ukrainian ships and 23 servicemen. Here’s why all Americans should care.
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Versha: This dramatic footage shows the moment that a Russian navy ship crashed into a Ukrainian tugboat moments before the Russian military seized three Ukrainian ships and 23 servicemen. It's the most significant escalation of conflict in the area since Russia took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Journalist Chris Miller works for Radio Free Europe and he's joining us from Kiev to explain what's happening in the region. Chris thank you so much for joining us. Can you just give us a rundown of what exactly happened on November 25th.

Chris: Three Ukrainian navy vessels said that they had radioed their intent to pass through the curch strait which is this small strait that connects the Black Sea with the Inland Sea of Azov. And it was it was shortly after they radioed to their Russian counterparts to let them know that they were going to pass through or they intended to pass through the Kerch Strait which the Russians have more or less taken control of or over when they were intercepted by by Russian naval vessels. At least one Russian fighter jets and an attack helicopter. And what ensued was one of the Russian ships crashing into the Ukrainian navy tugboats and then and then open and open firing on the two other Ukrainian gunships and following following this clash that took hours. They know that the Russians that is detained 24 actually Ukrainian servicemen. The three Ukrainian navy vessels and took them to one of the ports in Russian controlled and annexed Crimea. You know this is like you said certainly a significant event and one of the most dangerous I would say since the start of the conflict and the annexation of Crimea in 2014. So what's the current status of those 24 Ukrainian sailors to the 24 Ukrainian sailors appeared in a Crimean court.

At least 20 of the Ukranian sailors will remain in pretrial detention until April 26th.

Versha: This kind of came as a surprise to a lot of people who haven't been following the conflict. But you’ve been reporting that tensions have been building in this area for a while since the summer especially. Can you talk to us about that?

Chris: To those of us that have been that have been watching pretty closely this wasn't really a surprise. We saw the potential for a clash like this in the Sea of Azov or the Black Sea near the sea of Azov of for several months tensions really began ramping up in May upon the completion of the curch bridge. Bye bye bye Russia. So this bridge crosses over the current strait which is the only entry way to the inland Sea of Azov and just you kind of get a sense of the geography and and what it what it looks like there. You know the Black Sea is a very large body of water but sea of Azov is actually the shallowest sea in the world. It's the size of let's say a little bit actually smaller than Lake Huron in the U.S. and it is jointly controlled by Russia and Ukraine under a 2003 treaty that actually refers to these countries as brotherly nations. But they haven't been behaving so brotherly in recent months and in since May. Russia has detained more than 150 merchant vessels that have been entering the current strait and traversing that through the Sea of Azov on their way to the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. These are two Ukrainian ports that are of great strategic and economic importance importance to Ukraine. And you know because these ships have not been able to to get to the ports. It's really hurt the local regional economy there and it's become another lever for Russia to to apply pressure to Ukraine and in an attempt to to to undermine its democracy to try to keep it in its sphere of influence. But also Ukraine in turn has detained some Russian ships too. So the tensions have just been piling up and piling up for months now.

#Russia #Ukraine #Europe #War #Putin #RussiaDesk

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