The Russian Investigative Committee has opened two criminal cases over the attacks on Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine after the Kerch Strait incident.
“The main directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee has initiated two criminal cases on the basis of the offense under Article 360 Part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Attacks on persons or buildings under international protection”),” Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko informed TASS.
“According to the investigation, on November 25-26, 2018, unidentified persons, acting in a group with intent and prior agreement, carried out attacks on the building of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, Kiev with the aim to complicate relations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The attackers threw smoke grenades and other pyrotechnic articles on its territory,” she added.
On November 26, radical groups conducted a similar attack on the Russian General Consulate in Kharkov.
“Embassy buildings and their property receive international protection and immunity in accordance with the norms of international law, and, of course, the attackers were aware of that,” Petrenko stressed.
“The Investigative Committee is taking all existing legal measures aimed at identifying the persons involved in carrying out these offences,” she stressed.
Kerch Strait Incident
On November 27, Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, endorsed President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decree on imposing a 30-day martial law from November 28 in the Vinnitsa, Lugansk, Nikolayevsk, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, as well as Ukraine’s territorial waters in the Sea of Azov. Initially, Poroshenko sought to impose martial law for 60 days, but this put into question holding the March presidential election and sparked a public outcry.
The pretext for the decision to declare martial law was an incident in the Kerch Strait on November 25, when three Ukrainian warships, en route from Odessa to Mariupol, illegally crossed Russia’s state border, entered Russia’s territorial waters and started performing dangerous maneuvers.
Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. All three Ukrainian ships were detained in the Black Sea. Three Ukrainian servicemen were slightly wounded and received medical assistance, and their lives are not under threat. A criminal case has been launched over the violation of Russia’s state border. Moscow slammed the incident as a provocation.