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Tensions mount after Russia captures three Ukrainian naval vessels

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an urgent meeting of his "war cabinet" over the incident, his spokesperson said.


Devdiscourse News Desk moscow Russian Federation
Updated: 26-11-2018 05:31 IST
Tensions mount after Russia captures three Ukrainian naval vessels

(Image Credit: Twitter)

Russia has seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.

Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian forces. Ukraine says they were fired on and six crew were injured, BBC reported on Sunday.

The countries blame each other for the incident. Ukraine's government said it would declare martial law.

The crisis began when Russia accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its waters.

The Russians placed a tanker under a bridge in the Kerch Strait - the only access to the Sea of Azov, which is shared between the two countries.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an urgent meeting of his "war cabinet" over the incident, his spokesperson said.

In the morning, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats, and the Yana Kapa tug, tried to sail from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine says the Russians tried to intercept the ships, ramming the tug. The vessels continued towards the Kerch Strait, but were prevented by the tanker.

Russia scrambled two fighter jets and two helicopters to the area. It accused the ships of illegally entering its waters and said the traffic had been suspended for security reasons.

The Ukrainian navy later said the boats had been hit and disabled as they tried to leave the area. It said the tug had been forced to stop.

Russia's FSB later confirmed that one of its patrol boats had used force to seize the three Ukrainian vessels.

Ukraine said it had informed the Russians of its plan to move its ships through the sea to Mariupol.

Tensions have recently risen in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov off the Crimean peninsula -- annexed by Russia in 2014.

(With inputs from agencies.)

COUNTRY : Russian FederationUkraine

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