Here goes my best effort to cover today's events with cmuh thanks to Hal Turner who is covering this very well.
15 November, 2018
1:46 PM EST --
*** BULLETIN ***
Russia has opened fire upon Ukraine Vessels
Flash Traffic is hitting Intel Circuits right now that a significant naval battle is shaping-up between Ukraine and Russia at the Kerch Straight Bridge between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Reporting is sketchy right now, but here is what we know:
Both Ukraine and Russia border the Sea of Azov, which is basically a gigantic bay (see map above) off the Black Sea between the two countries. Ukraine needs access to the Sea of Azov to reach its eastern sea ports. Russia also needs access to the Sea of Azov to reach some of its western sea ports and to reach Crimea.
The Kerch Straight is a narrow opening in the landmass which separates the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov.
After Russia absorbed Crimea, the Russians built an enormous bridge across the Kerch Straight, to facilitate import/export of goods, services and utilities (Gas, Oil, & Electric) between Russia and Crimea.
Here's what we THINK we know:
A Russian Coast Guard vessel allegedly RAMMED a Ukrainian vessel at or near the Kerch Straight Bridge.
In response, Russia positioned a large freighter/tanker across the opening beneath the Kerch Straight Bridge to block all transit between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Here is a photo of the bridge as of minutes ago:
The Ukrainians sent naval warships. The Russians sent naval warships, attack helicopters and war planes.
Ukraine is calling the closure of the Kerch Straight a "Blockade" and saying it is "an act of war." Ukraine is sending additional warships, "at full speed" to the area. Russia is now also sending additional military assets to the area.
Whatever is going to happen, is likely to happen within hours. We could see a full scale naval battle between Ukraine and Russia today.
Additional updates to appear below as information develops.
UPDATE 11:45 AM EST --
5 Russian Su-30 and 2 Su-25 fighter jets, low flight over Mariupol
UPDATE 11:50 AM EST --
Spokesman of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, Oleg Chalik, has just confirmed that the three Ukrainian Naval Force vessels are still waiting to cross at the Kerch strait. They're still blocked from entering the Sea of Azov. Their orders remain ---Reach Mariupol---.
UPDATE 12:00 NOON EST --
*** BULLETIN ***
Ukrainian Navy moves to combat alert in response to today's Russian "attacks" on shipping and closure of Kerch Straits. By closing access to the Azov Sea, Russia is imposing a de facto blockade of Ukraine's southeastern ports, which is defined in international law as an act of war.
UKRAINE AND RUSSIAN VESSELS UNDERTAKE NAVIGATIONAL "SKIRMISH"
Russian War planes in the air over Kerch Straight
Russian KA-52 attack helicopters now on-station at Kerch Straight Bridge:
Ukraine has accused Russia of ramming one of its boats off the coast of the annexed Crimea, amid rising tensions.
The "openly aggressive actions" occurred as three of its vessels sailed from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, Kiev said.
Ukraine's Yana Kapu tug suffered damage to its engine, guard rail and outer shell, the Ukrainian navy said.
But Russia said the ships were in its waters, and accused the Ukrainians of "provocative actions."
Russia has now blocked access to the Sea of Azov with a tanker under the bridge that spans the Kerch Strait.
Tensions have risen in the seas off the Crimean peninsula - annexed by Russia in 2014 - in recent months.
UPDATE 12:21 PM EST --
Ukrainian ships start to move from Kerch strait, but Russians threaten to use weapons if ships won't stop.
UPDATE 12:34 PM EST --
border checkpoints between Ukraine and Russia have been closed. It is unknown if this is related to the Azov incident currently unfolding, however that is not outside the realm of possibility. Not a good sign.
*** BULLETIN ***
Russia has opened fire upon Ukraine Vessels
1: 54 PM EST -- UKRAINIAN Gyurza-M class artillery boat U175 Berdyansk is damaged, lost engine, one wounded. Ukrainian Navy responding with deadly fire to protect itself.
1:56 PM EST -- Ukranian forces aboard the disabled Ukrainian naval vessel are firing back heavily at Russian forces, boat is now a sitting duck
1:59 PM EST -- Full on battle between Ukrainian ship and Russian navy.
2:00 PM EST -- Spokesman of the Ukrainian Navy, Oleg Chalik, said that Ukrainian ships are currently firing back at Russian Navy Forces.
UPDATE 2:34 PM EST --
RUSSIAN SPECIAL FORCES HAVE NOW CAPTURED 3 UKRAINIAN NAVAL VESSELS
Reports on social media that Ukrainian naval vessels are leaving their base in Odessa now WITH ORDERS TO ATTACK AND DESTROY ANY RUSSIAN NAVAL VESSEL THEY ENCOUNTER.
Red: Kerch Strait
Social media outlets Twitter and Facebook are now PULLING any and all postings about this conflict. They have apparently been told the public is NOT TO KNOW a full scale war is breaking out in Europe.
UPDATE 3:13 PM EST --
Russia used special forces from helicopters backed up with helicopter gunships for covering fire to capture Ukrainian naval vessels.
Russia has started blocking land borders with Ukraine. No "civilians."
UPDATE 3:15 PM --
JAMMING OF MILITARY COMMUNICATIONS IN EUROPE HAS BEGUN. MASSIVE and I mean MASSIVE Jamming of EVERYTHING from USB 8990 to 9010....Nothing coming through...Been a Long time since I have seen this!
PRESIDENT TRUMP RETURNING TO WHITE HOUSE EARLY . . . DEPARTS MAR-A-LAGO AT 4:00 PM EST.
U.S. PENTAGON CALLING-IN ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE FOR URGENT MEETINGS. NOT SOMETHING YOU SEE ON A SUNDAY UNLESS THINGS ARE HUGELY BAD. . .
Ukraine have asked for urgent military support and calling for UN intervention.
Ukrainian President is calling an emergency session of his war cabinet in response to the Kerch Strait
UKRAINE ARTILLERY BOATS BERDYANSK AND NIKOPOL HIT BY ENEMY FIRE, SEIZED BY RUSSIAN SPECIAL FORCES -- UKRAINIAN NAVY STATEMENT
3:23 PM EST -- Ukrainians are briefing that they are now launching counter fire at OTHER Russian vessels.
3:27 pm est -- The Ukrainian Navy says one of its small armored artillery ships has been hit after Russia opened fire in the Black Se
Ukrainian air force and land forces on full combat alert. Possible reserve call-ups.
CONFIRMED: all Ukrainian naval vessels have departed bases and put out to sea.
3:35 PM EST -- All military and security services in Ukraine have been mobilized tonight.
Shipping has come to a halt between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The image below is a screen shot of online ship RADAR TRANSPONDERS showing their location. Traffic jams at both sides of the Kerch Strait. Nothing is moving.
Ukraine Leader Poroshenko meeting with military cabinet still ongoing, it's one hour now.
UPDATE 4:14 PM EST --
RUSSIA WARNS THE WORLD:
Ukrainian naval ships ignored calls to stop, violated Russian state border-
"Any attack on Russia from Ukraine or it/s allies will result in a dangerous situation...Russia warns Western allies to not interfere in crimes committed by Ukraine or there will be consequences."
4:18 PM EST -- Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine: Ukraine to declare martial law
5:10 PM EST -- 4540 kHz active Ukrainian military communications. Units testing reception with each other FOR DEPLOYMENT
Turchynov: we are convening Ukrainian NSDC to declare "state of war"
5:15 PM EST -- Word from contact in Ukraine:
"This is the most dangerous moment I've seen in Ukraine in years.
Tonight, a war that many people in America can only imagine thanks to Hollywood movies, teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real.
Tonight in Ukraine we go to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will bring."
5:18 PM EST -- Ukraine Air Command Center fwd-deployed four Su-27Ps of 831st BrTA from Myrhorod to Kulbakino, Mykolaiv. They, together with MiG-29s of 204th BrTA are now protecting south of Ukraine.
5:33 PM EST -- More than 20 Ukrainian Navy sailors have been taken prisoner by Russian forces after 3 Ukrainian naval vessels captured.
UPDATE 5:36 PM EST --
Emergency Action Message(s) (EAM's) being transmitted to US military forces worldwide via Global High Frequency Radio System on 8992 KHz (USB).
"Doomsday" Planes "Nightwatch" and "Looking Glass" both airborne over Continental United States as of NOW.