Ukraine says Russian-backed rebels fire on border-guard vessel at sea

Ukraine says Russian-backed rebels fire on border-guard vessel at sea

[Ed. – In the very restricted area of the northern Black Sea, this isn’t the danger to international shipping that it is when Libyans fire at ships.  But it’s an escalation.]

On Sunday, a spokesman for Ukraine’s offensive against Russia-backed rebels said a border guard vessel has been fired on with artillery – apparently the first incident at sea in the fighting.

The spokesman, Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, said the attack occurred Sunday afternoon but he had no further information, including how many people were aboard the boat.

The attack took place amid heightened concern that the rebels are trying to seize a land bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in March.

Until this week, the area along the Azov Sea had escaped the fighting that has gripped areas farther north since April. …

This week, Ukraine seized 10 Russian soldiers well inside the country. On Sunday, Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, said nine of them had been given back to Russia in exchange for 63 Ukrainian servicemen.

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