On Sunday November 25th, Russia stopped three Ukrainian vessels from entering a narrow body of water connecting the Azov and Black seas. This body of water, The Kerch Strait, houses the Crimean Bridge (also known as the Kerch Strait Bridge) which is a complex of bridges that hosts both rail and road traffic. The 18.1 kilometer long bridge connects the Russian Federation to Russian Annexed Crimea and the Taman Peninsula. Tensions rapidly escalated on sunday when Russian authorities placed a large cargo ship underneath the Russian controlled bridge to stop any Ukrainian Navy vessels from entering. The situation became even more severe when Russian border service began to shoot at the Ukrainian Navy. “According to the Ukrainian navy, vessels belonging to Russia’s border service opened fire on the Ukrainian fleet, injuring six sailors, before seizing two of the ships.” stated Amie Ferris-Rotman and David Stern of the Washington Post.
After the conflict simmered down the Russian Federation closed the strait while the Ukrainian Government and their president Petro Poroshenko enacted widespread martial law throughout the country. The restrictions that the Ukrainian martial law imposes upon its civilians are ‘shrouded in fog’ leaving the whole situation even more confusing to those not involved. A private ukrainian Lawyer Roman Marchenko commented; “The question is whether army officials will use these powers in reality….” What is known about the new martial law being enforced in Ukraine is that it was voted to last thirty days and gives the government and military additional rights, “They can do whatever they want and they do not need to justify anything about their actions to the public or the courts or anybody,” Mr. Marchenko said. As the situation continues to unfold it is unknown how either side will act.