NATO MEMBER OWNED SHIP SINKS OFF ODESA – Russia Used Civilian Ship As A Human Shield

UPDATE: “The Estonian-owned cargo ship Helt SUNK on Thursday off the Ukrainian port of Odesa after an explosion,” Igor Ilves, managing director of Tallinn-based manager Vista Shipping Agency, told Reuters. “Two crew members were in a life raft at sea while four others were unaccounted for.”

“The vessel has finally sunk,” he said. “Two of the crew are in a raft on the water and four others are missing. I dont know where they are at the moment.” Ilves said the vessel might have struck a mine.

“Estonia is a member of NATO, leading to fears the sinking could spark further conflict in Eastern Europe,” writes Jonathan Saul of Reuters.

The following is the original article published this morning just before the ship sank:

by Captain John Konrad (gCaptain) The Ukrainian Navy has accused the Russian Black Sea Fleet of using civilian vessels for cover a tactic that it said Russian ground forces were also using. The Ukrainians accused the Russians of forcing the Estonia – a NATO member – owned merchant ship M/V Helt, to enter the dangerous zone of the Black Sea so that the occupiers can cover themselves with a civilian ship as a human shield. The Ukrainian Navy said the Russians had threatened to fire on the ship if it did not comply. 

The Ukrainian Navy is calling the incident an illegal act of piracy.

Ukraines military headquarters said on Thursday that Russia was sending four amphibious assault ships to land troops near Odesa, a city of 1 million and a major seaport. Images on social me....

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