Russian Federation 'fires on and seizes Ukraine ships'

Russia’s coast guard ships intentionally rammed Ukranian Navy vessel

Russia has stopped three Ukrainian navy vessels from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait by placing a huge cargo ship beneath a Russian-controlled bridge, Russia's state-controlled Rossiya 24 TV channel reported on Sunday.

Tensions surfaced on Sunday after Russia tried to intercept the three Ukrainian ships - two small armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat - in the Black Sea, accusing them of illegally entering Russian territorial waters.

Germany's foreign minister said the latest clash between the two countries, whose relations have been severely strained since Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, was "worrying".

It added: "These materials will soon be made public".

"The Yany Kapu tugboat has also been forced to halt".

"An emergency Security Council meeting has been called for tomorrow at 11 a.m.", she tweeted.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesperson Oana Lungescu called for "restraint and de-escalation" on both sides.

"Russia rams Ukrainian vessel peacefully travelling toward a Ukrainian port. Russian Federation seizes ships and crew and then accuses Ukraine of provocation???", he wrote on Twitter.

A view of the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait is closed for the passage of civil vessels after there was reportedly an altercation between Russian and Ukrainian ships, November 25, 2018. After the impact with the tug he orders his crew to stop their own vessel.

Noteworthy, the Russians enforced the blockade dispatching also Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes, which were spotted overflying the bridge area several times.

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The Kerch Strait is the only passage into the Sea of Azov beyond it.

To the west of that strait is Crimea; to the east, Russia's region that borders the Black Sea.

Fighting between the rebels and Ukrainian troops has claimed more than 10,300 lives since 2014, and continued skirmishes result in near-daily casualties.

According to Ukrainian Navy Command, Ukrainian ships are still waiting for Strait transit, surrounded by 8 Russian Navy ships, plus helicopters and jets.

Russia's foreign ministry accused Ukraine of deliberately provoking the incident, with spokesperson Maria Zakharova telling state television that Moscow will summon a senior Ukrainian diplomat to complain.

While Russia didn't confirm or deny using weapons, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, in Crimea said all necessary measures were used to stop the Ukrainians, according to the RIA news service. FSB didn't mention ramming any vessels or tugboats.

But Russia said the ships were in its waters, and accused the Ukrainians of "provocative actions".

The Kerch Strait between the Azov and Black seas.

They spoke after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko scrambled the Ukrainian navy and convened a parliament vote on declaring martial law, while protesters fired smoke grenades and burned tyres outside the Russian embassy in Kiev.

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