Crimean court orders Ukrainian sailors to be detained for two months

Press Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia in Crimea

Ukraine said six of its servicemen were injured in the incident, two seriously.

A bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004 governs the use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the words of the treaty is considered to be the "internal waters" of both Russia and Ukraine.

In response, the Ukrainian government Monday night imposed martial law for one month in parts of the country officials say are vulnerable to possible military action from Russian Federation.

"I was well aware that the actions of the Ukrainian navy in the Kerch Strait are provocative".

Kyiv called Russia's actions a flagrant violation of worldwide law, because the Black Sea is free for shipping, and Crimea belongs to Ukraine.

Russian Federation fired at and captured three Ukrainian boats in the sea off Crimea on Sunday, sparking a major escalation of tensions between the neighboring countries.

The decree imposes martial law in areas of the country seen as most vulnerable to attack from its giant neighbor, Russia, including coastal and border regions.

"According to the confirmed SBU operative information, one of the Russian strike aircraft used two unmanned combat missiles against the Ukrainian boats, heavily wounding one of the SBU officers", Hrytsak said in a statement.

Ukraine's parliament voted Monday on a request from Poroshenko to impose martial law in border regions for 30 days.

United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley on Monday condemned Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian ships as an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory" and warned the Kremlin against further escalation.

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"We consider it as an act of aggression against our state and a very serious threat", Mr Poroshenko said. The top US diplomat condemned Russia's actions and called for Moscow to return the vessels.

"The United States will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine against the Russian aggression", she added later. Ukraine says that three of its ships were travelling from Odessa to Mariupol when they were intercepted by the Russian coast guard. It claims Russian border guard ships harassed and intimidated their ships, including ramming them and opening fire at least sixteen times.

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. The Russian state-owned media outlet RIA Novosti quoted a State Duma deputy from occupied-Crimea, Dmitry Belik, who accused Ukraine of dragging its military into "adventures" while ignoring worldwide law.

Later, it became known that a Russian special ops unit had seized all the three Ukrainian boats when they were leaving the Kerch Strait.

Russia's ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, poses further threats to Ukraine's independence.

This incident provides further evidence of Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty.

Allies will not recognise Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea. "We're all working on it together", Trump told reporters.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the clash in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov - a body of water containing both Russian and Ukrainian ports.

The confrontation is a risky development in the conflict pitting Ukraine against Moscow and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said any Russian "blockade" of the Sea of Azov was "unacceptable" and proposed French-German mediation to resolve the crisis.

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