Sunday brought an incendiary new flashpoint in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The incident occurred around the Kerch Strait, a narrow body of water separating Russia from the Crimean Peninsula. It involved three Ukrainian Navy vessels – two gunboats and a tug – which were fired on and disabled by a Russian FSB patrol boat, injuring at least six sailors on board. The Ukrainian boats and crews have since been taken into custody by the Russian authorities.
The naval clash is already reverberating politically (a pending vote on martial law and looming 2019 general elections in Ukraine), economically (the potential for Ukraine’s Sea of Azov ports to be blocked off), and militarily (the yet unresolved civil war in the east and potential for new altercations in the confined waters of the Kerch Strait).