Russian Federation fires on, seizes Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea

Russian Federation fires on, seizes Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea

Russian Federation fires on, seizes Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted Russia's "violation under worldwide law", saying it was "yet another reckless Russian escalation" and "no way for a law-abiding civilized nation to act".

The Ukrainian leader said he would ask parliament to introduce martial law for 30 days, after initially saying it would last 60 days.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian Navy said it had sent two small armoured artillery vessels and a tugboat from the port of Odessa to Mariupol, a journey that requires them to pass from the Black Sea via the Kerch Strait into the Sea of Azov.

A Russian coastguard ship rammed a Ukrainian navy tug and opened fire on two other ships.

Protesters, some armed with flares, rallied outside the Russian embassy in Kiev on Sunday night in response to the latest development.

The incident in the Black Sea reflects rising tensions between Moscow and Kyiv around the Sea of Azov which both countries have the right to use.

Russian Federation said the Ukrainian ships were in its waters illegally because Moscow had temporarily closed an area of water for shipping.

The Russian Federal Security Service claimed it has evidence Ukraine is responsible for clashes between ships in the Black Sea.

The ships - a tugboat and two gunboats - were blocked from entering the Sea of Azov after a tanker was positioned beneath the Crimean Bridge, which marks a point between the sea and the Kerch Strait.

"The Secretary General expressed NATO's full support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, including its full navigational rights in its territorial waters under worldwide law", North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said of Stoltenberg's call.

"After the attack on Ukrainian military vessels, (Russia) entered a new phase of aggression", Poroshenko said in a televised address to the nation.

The European Union issued a statement "urging all sides to act with utmost restraint".

According to reports, the Ukrainian military was put on full combat alert after the Kerch Strait battle on Sunday.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in an earlier statement Russia's actions were a violation of the UN Charter and worldwide law, and pledged to "promptly inform our partners about Russia's aggressive actions".

The FSB, which oversees the border guard service, also said the Ukrainian ships had failed to respond to the "legal demands" of the Russian authorities. He said the Kremlin would refrain from further comment until the Russian Foreign Ministry made a detailed statement about the incident.

The United Nations gave overwhelming support to a 2014 resolution underscoring Ukraine's territorial integrity following Russia's seizure of Crimea and with Russia-backed separatists fighting for control of swaths of eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Haley, who has announced she will leave her post by the end of the year, said that she spoke to President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday morning and that her remarks before the U.N. Security Council "reflect [ed] the concerns at the highest level of the American government". He also said it should be accompanied by a "termination of relations" with Russian Federation.

"The United States will maintain its Crimea-related sanctions against Russian Federation".

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