Russian Federation 'fires on and seizes' Ukrainian naval ships

Russian Federation 'fires on and seizes' Ukrainian naval ships

The United Nations Security Council is due to discuss the developments on Monday at the request of Russia, said Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

Two artillery ships and a tug boat were subsequently fired on and seized, the Ukranian navy said.

Ukraine's navy said the incident took place as three of its ships - two small warships and a tugboat - were heading through the strait for the port of Mariupol.

With relations still raw after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the incident risks pushing the two countries towards a wider conflict and is likely to renew Western calls for more sanctions on Moscow. Since Russia annexed Crimea, tension has risen with both countries complaining about shipping delays and harassment.

Russian Federation has since worked steadily to bolster its zone of control around the Crimean Peninsula.

The Kerch bridge is seen blocked for ships entrance, near Kerch, Crimea, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018.

The Russian government is accusing Ukraine of a deliberate provocation, while Ukraine says it was "an act of aggression".

Russia's recent actions were a violation of the United Nations' Charter as well as a violation of worldwide law, said the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Russia blocks Kerch Strait amid confrontation with Ukraine
Ukraine says Russia has seized three ships in Black sea

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) told Russian news agencies Sunday the Ukrainian ships violated Russian territorial waters, which were temporarily closed.

Ukraine said its vessels were heading to the Sea of Azov in line with global maritime rules, while Russia charged that they had failed to obtain a permission to pass through the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from the Russian mainland.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said in a Facebook post that Ukraine was employing "the methods of banditry".

The incident came amid a confrontation at sea between Ukrainian and Russian vessels.

Ukraine accused a Russian coastguard vessel, named the Don, of ramming one of its tugboats in "openly aggressive actions".

Ukraine's foreign ministry said in a statement it wanted a clear response to the incident from the worldwide community.

The Russians then reportedly placed an unnamed tanker under a bridge in the Kerch Strait, which is the only access to the Sea of Azov, an area shared by the two countries. It had earlier cut off access to the strait "for security reasons".

Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs condemned the Russian action and called on Moscow to de-escalate the situation.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters declined to say Monday whether its ambassadors would meet to discuss the incident, but the alliance is in contact with Ukrainian authorities.




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