Ukraine says Russian Federation has seized three ships in Black sea

Ukraine says Russian Federation has seized three ships in Black sea

Ukraine says Russian Federation has seized three ships in Black sea

Ukraine's navy, in a statement posted on its Facebook page, said that ships belonging to Russia's FSB border service had fired on its warships, damaging two of them and injuring at least two Ukrainian sailors.

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 permission to pass through the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from the Russian mainland.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to hold an emergency meeting on the incident Monday.

Armed Russian warplanes also simulated an attack on a Belgian frigate taking part in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation policing in the Baltic Sea last Thursday, the Belgian military said on Sunday.

President Petro Poroshenko has ordered an emergency session of Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's lower house of parliament, to approve the martial law for a period of 60 days.

"We need new sanctions against Russia", Ukraine's ambassador to the European Union Mykola Tochitsky said in a tweet on Monday.

"There is irrefutable evidence that Kyiv prepared and orchestrated provocations", it said. "All illegal actions are recorded by the crews of the ships and the command of Ukraine's Navy and will be handed over to the respective global bodies".

The tugboat which was rammed was traveling with the two Ukrainian gunboats from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol, an eastern Ukraine port, via the Kerch Strait.

"Nato. should send in naval ships in the Sea of Azov", the Atlantic Council's Anders Aslund also said.

Russia blocks Kerch Strait amid confrontation with Ukraine

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), meanwhile, says Kyiv "illegally" entered its territorial waters and carried out "dangerous manoeuvres" against the orders of Russian authorities, prompting them to act. It said six crew members had been injured.

"What is happening now at the [Kerch] bridge threatens to become a very unpleasant story", said Kiselyov, one of the Kremlin's main propagandists.

The Russian rouble opened 0.4 percent weaker against the dollar in Moscow, its lowest since mid-November.

Russian Federation - which claims the waters off Crimea after annexing the peninsula in 2014 - accused Ukraine of illegally entering the area and deliberately provoking a conflict.

According to latest news and as of 1500 UTC Nov 25, Kerch Strait is closed for all shipping, meaning that all Azov sea ports, both Ukrainian and Russian, are blocked.

In recent months both sides had deployed more naval and border vessels to the area. At the same time, Ukraine's supporters in the west have little enthusiasm for a new escalation of the conflict that broke out after protesters ousted the country's Kremlin-backed leader and demanded closer ties with the EU.

"In this case, you need to focus and translate the situation in a large-scale war, which is now impractical for Ukraine", he said.

Russian politicians denounced Kiev, saying the incident looked like a calculated attempt by Mr Poroshenko to increase his popularity ahead of an election next year.

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