Putin warns against ‘reckless acts’ after Ukraine declares martial law

Putin warns against ‘reckless acts’ after Ukraine declares martial law

Russia's border guard service accused Ukraine of not informing it in advance of the journey, something Kiev denied, and said the Ukrainian ships had been maneuvering dangerously and ignoring its instructions with the aim of stirring up tensions.

Reports that the Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent "a risky escalation and a violation of worldwide law", said Pompeo. "But outlaw actions like this one continue to make that impossible".

"In August, the United States condemned Russia's harassment of global shipping in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait", she continued.

Russian Federation is reported to have then boarded the two vessels and a tugboat and seized them.

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he is "seriously concerned" about the growing tensions between the two countries after the weekend incident and Ukraine's instituting martial law.

Crimea's rights ombudsman Lyudmila Lubina said the court has ordered three people to be held until 25 January on accusations of crossing into Russian territory illegally.

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

In response to what is perceived as Russian aggression, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko said he will ask this week his government to declare martial law.

Mr Poroshenko said it was necessary because of intelligence about "a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine".

A judge in the Crimean town of Simferopol said Tuesday that they have been detained pending trial, charged with trespassing the Russian border, Russian state media reported.

The Kerch Strait is the only passage between the two seas.

Russia's acting United Nations ambassador, Dmitry Polyansky, accused the Ukrainian Navy of "staging an aggressive provocation", which he claimed was aimed at drumming up public support for Poroshenko ahead of Ukraine's presidential election in March.

"He underlined that the introduction of martial law will not hinder the working of the democratic institutions of Ukraine, and will not create any problems for the upcoming presidential election", Stoltenberg said.

Kiev accuses Moscow of trying to impose a de facto economic blockade on its ports in the Azov Sea to weaken it as part of a "hybrid war" against Ukraine.

Earlier this morning, the dispute first erupted when three Ukrainian vessels attempted to travel through the Kerch Strait, the narrow body of water between Russian mainland and the Crimea, to other ports in Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry also said it warned Ukraine and "its Western sponsors" many times about "the dangers of artificially inflated hysteria" in the Azov Sea and at the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine's interior minister released a video on Twitter apparently from aboard one of the Russian ships, showing the tugboat being chased down and the collision, interspersed with commands and swearing in Russian.

Russia's Deputy Ambassador Dmitry Polanski dismissed Ukraine's claims and blamed the scuffle on Kiev's aggression.

US President Donald Trump suggested it was up to European governments to handle the crisis.

"It's not a political issue here, because we can have an argument about the legal status, but it's about simply concentrating on protecting them and helping them", Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told the AP.

The recent incident marks a significant escalation in tensions, which began rising with Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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