Overflown by a US surveillance aircraft, Kiev transferred two naval vessels – the search-and-rescue vessel Donbas (U500) and the tug Korets (U830) – to the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea on 23 September via the Russian-held Kerch Strait between Crimea and southern Russia, local media reported.
The strait is controlled by Russia’s National Guard (Rosgvardiya) and Federal Security Service (FSB) Border Service troops.
Kiev plans to relocate its second largest naval base from Mykolaiv on the Black Sea to Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov, where it intends to station an independent flotilla of naval vessels.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko congratulated his navy, saying: “These ships will be part of the Ukrainian Navy’s new naval base in the Sea of Azov.”
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