Russian warships seized three Ukrainian naval vessels on Sunday in a narrow waterway that provides access from the Black Sea to the much smaller Sea of Azov near Crimea, ramping up already bitter tensions between the two countries.
The 12-mile-long span has been touted by Russia as a claim to Crimea. Ukraine, along with nearly every other country in the world, refuses to recognize that claim.
Russian vessels rammed one of the Ukrainian boats and opened fire on the other two before seizing all three, along with their crews. Ukrainian officials have said six of its sailors were injured; Russia has said three. The boats were towed to a nearby port.
The UN Security Council is meeting today to discuss the incident. Super.
Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law for 30 days in parts of the country most vulnerable to an attack from Russia after President Petro Poroshenko warned of the “extremely serious” threat of a land invasion.
Washington’s envoy to the United Nations said Russia’s actions were an “outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory” and sanctions on Russia would remain in place.
The European Union, Britain, France, Poland, Denmark, and Canada all condemned what they called Russian aggression. German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the need for dialogue.