According to Reuters, Russia has seized three Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors.
This move risks starting a dangerous new crisis between the two countries. Russia’s FSB security service has announced that its border patrol boats have seized the Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea and have used weapons to force them to stop.
The FSB said three Ukrainian sailors had been wounded in the incident and are getting medical attention.
NBC reports that the FSB said Ukraine failed to notify Russia that its ships were planning to use the strait, a contention that Ukraine denied. While both Ukraine and Russia have rights to the sea under a 2003 treaty, Russia controls both sides of the strait.
“The vessels are carrying out dangerous maneuvers and are disobeying the Russian authorities’ demands,” the FSB’s Border Service said in a statement. “The Border Service is taking all steps to ensure security of navigation and regulation of maritime traffic in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.”
The Ukraine government labeled the Russian actions “an act of aggression aimed at deliberately escalating the situation in the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.”
“We appeal to the whole pro-Ukrainian coalition: we must stand united!” Poroshenko said Sunday on Twitter.
We appeal to the partner countries under the Budapest Memorandum, to the EU countries, to participants of the Normandy format in order to coordinate effective measures to protect Ukraine. We appeal to the whole pro-Ukrainian coalition: we must stand united! pic.twitter.com/NCnpUmSbV4
— Петро Порошенко (@poroshenko) November 25, 2018