The detained Ukrainian sailors involved in the provocation at Kerch Strait, have apparently ‘confessed’ that they were given these orders from their commanding officer.
According to news reports and the public interface of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in a statement made on November 26th and in a related video, not yet translated into English, it was revealed that they had questioned Ukrainian servicemen who were detained following the maritime incident in the Kerch Strait.
As all confessions made to hostile or interested parties, these should be taken with some degree of skepticism. Being compelled to make a confession, especially under conditions of duress, and in fact capture when involved nominally in a military action against a semi-hostile country, raises serious questions.
That said, the FSB released video footage of the questioning session with the following detainees:
3rd Rank Captain Vladimir Lesovoy, commander of a support vessels division of the Ukrainian South naval base (army unit A-1728);
Andrei Drach, according to Russian officials, officer of the 7th main military intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian Security Service who had been on board the Nikolpol boat;
Sergei Tsybizov, a sailor from the Nikopol.
The Ukrainian servicemen apparently confirmed that they are acting upon what, in the video, they describe as direct orders from their command prior to November 25th. If true, it would be further evidence that the November 25th maritime incident was a pre-planned provocation.
At the same time, we must remember that we live in reality, not a morality play of goodies vs. baddies. It is very reasonable to be suspicious that the FSB has compelled these gentlemen to say whatever is necessary to make their release easier, more smooth, and it is also possible that either the specter of grievous harm or great reward was introduced, additionally.
That said, it would be highly unlikely that the maneuvers made by the Ukrainian Navy were made accidentally, or made by the ship captains themselves. This is due to the numerous warnings that can be heard and seen in videos circulating online where it’s clear that Russian sailors are giving warnings. That means the violation of Russian maritime borders was not accidental.