Shortly after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian warships and detained several of their crew in the Sea of Azov over the weekend, the Ukrainian General Staff posted what they call intercepted communications between the Russian sailors and their commanders ashore. In the recording, one sailor says that the attack was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ukrainian diplomats in the United States confirmed that the audio and accompanying YouTube video had come from the Ukraine government. A researcher from the open-source investigatory organization Bellingcat said that they knew of the existence of raw files that support the claim of the Ukrainian government.
The Ukrainian government also released a statement outlining their version of events, claiming that their gunboats Berdyansk and Nikopol and harbor tug Yani Kapu were transiting from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol The statement said that Ukrainian officials had communicated all of this to Russian authorities “in keeping with international norms.”
They claim that “no response was provided.”
“According to information, small armored artillery boat ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Yani Kapu’ harbour tug are seized and towed. ‘Nikopol’ boat is blocked and moves escorted by Russian forces. Six Ukrainian servicemen are injured,” they wrote in their statement provided to press.
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