Russian Navy sinks three ships off Ukraine’s coast

9 March 2014 (Last Updated March 9th, 2014 18:30)

The Russian Navy has reportedly sunk three of its own ships off the Crimea's western coast in an attempt to prevent Ukrainian Navy vessels from entering into the Black Sea peninsula.

The Russian Navy has reportedly sunk three of its own ships off the Crimea's western coast in an attempt to prevent Ukrainian Navy vessels from entering into the Black Sea peninsula.

The Russian Navy's decommissioned Soviet-era anti-submarine warship, Ochakov, was towed to the straits that connect the Black Sea with a body of water known as Donuzlav Lake, where it was blown up along with two smaller Russian vessels.

Second-in-command at the Novoozerne, Crimea base, captain Viktor Shmyganovsky, said that Crimea could have taken its ships to Odessa to prevent them being seized by Russian forces if the western coast wasn't blocked.

"Ochakov was sunk in the straits that connect the Black Sea with Donuzlav Lake to prevent Ukrainian Navy ships from leaving a nearby base."

Ukraine defence ministry spokesman lieutenant-colonel, Alexei Mazepa, told Los Angeles Times that the Russian Navy's Ochakov was sunk in the straits that connect the Black Sea with Donuzlav Lake to prevent Ukrainian Navy ships from leaving a nearby base and going to sea.

Meanwhile, Russia's defence ministry is planning to ban US inspections of Russian nuclear weapons, as part of the New START agreement signed in 2010, to curb nuclear arsenals of both countries by half by 2021.

RIA Novosti cited a ministry source as saying that the move follows the US decision to halt military co-operation with Russia over Ukraine.

CBS Interactive reported border guard spokesman, Oleh Slobodyan, as saying that despite a US warning, Russia has reinforced its military stance against Crimea by taking control of a Ukrainian border guard post on the western edge of the Back Sea peninsula, which has about 30 personnel inside.

Defence Technology