As reported by Censor.NET citing an investigation by InformNapalm via UNIAN news agency, all vessels are owned by the company Yuvas-Trans, whose founders are Yaroslav Anatolyovych Narodytskyi (65 percent), Anatoliy Leonydovych Narodytskyi (25 percent), and Oleh Volodymyrovych Vasenko (10 percent). All three reside in Kerch (Russia-occupied Crimea). The Narodytskyi brothers are also founders of many companies in Russia and Ukraine. InformNapalm claims that Yuvans-Trans is engaged in smuggling, systematically violating the sanctions regime against the occupied Crimea.
In October last year, the company's tanker was fired upon by the coast guard of Libya for fuel smuggling. In addition, in 2015, Russian coast guards detained Narodytskyi's tanker for buying and selling of illegal fuel on the high seas. As Anatoly Narodytskyi explained to the Russian media, he used the scheme to circumvent sanctions against Crimea. At the same time, the Narodytskyi brothers do business with EU companies through their Ukraine-registered firms. Also, Yaroslav has a company registered in Scotland, stating in statutory papers that he is in fact a Ukraine national.
InformNapalm notes that neither the Narodytskyis nor their associates are the sanctions list. Besides, no high-profile court rulings as regards their companies have been handed down, the investigation says. "Smuggling, systematic violation of Ukrainian laws and international law, possible large-scale tax evasion, suspicion of dual citizenship, organization of a criminal network and an incing on the cake – the recent blocking of Ukrainian warships from passing the Kerch Strait… And this is just what the InformNapalm team was able to find by slightly digging into the surface," reads the report.
On Nov. 25, Russian border vessels committed aggressive actions against three Ukrainian ships that set sail from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Azov Sea. After that, Russian special forces opened fire on the Ukrainian tugboat Yany Kapu, small armored artillery boats Berdiansk and Nikopol in the Kerch Strait and seized them. There were 23 sailors on board the ships, and six of them were wounded.
Russia announced its intention to try detained Ukrainian sailors for allegedly illegal crossing of the Russian state border.
On Nov. 26, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Ukraine related to the latest developments in the Black and Azov Seas.
Later on the same day, Ukraine's parliament gave the green light to a presidential decree on the introduction of martial law for 30 days in 10 regions of Ukraine – Vinnytsia region, Luhansk region, Mykolaiv region, Odesa region, Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Chernihiv region, Kherson region, Donetsk region and Zaporizhia region, as well as the inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
On Nov. 28, the Russian rubberstamp district court of Simferopol city in Crimea arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured by Russian FSB near the Kerch Strait, for two months. They all face six years in prison.