Russian Federation uses tanker to block Ukrainian ships

Russian Federation uses tanker to block Ukrainian ships

Poroshenko instructed the Foreign Ministry to inform the Group of Seven and the United Nations Security Council of the events.

Russia did not immediately or directly respond to the allegation, but Russian news agencies cited the FSB security service as saying it had incontrovertible proof that Ukraine had orchestrated what it called "a provocation" and would make its evidence public soon.

Ukraine's Ambassador to the global body, Volodymyr Yelchenko, fired back in a tweet, however, referring to "the audacious behavior of the aggressor", which he said could only be addressed "by joint coordinated efforts".

Shipping via Kerch Strait nevertheless, as of 1700 UTC, remains blocked, already creating huge queues of merchant ships both in Azov and in Black seas.

She said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation supports Ukraine's "navigational rights in its territorial waters" and calls on Russian Federation "to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, in accordance with worldwide law".

Ukraine's navy said the incident took place as three of its ships - two small warships and a tugboat - were heading through the strait for the port of Mariupol.

Kiev insists the two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tug boat, heading to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, were observing worldwide maritime rules.

Ukrainian armed forces have been placed on a full alert amid situation in the Kerch Strait and the attack on Ukrainian warships. After the impact with the tug he orders his crew to stop their own vessel.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook that the incident was characteristic of Ukrainian behavior: provoke, pressure and blame for aggression.

The developments are seen as a Russian strategy to block Ukraine from the Azov Sea and global shipping, and from transforming it into a military outpost.

To the west of that strait is Crimea; to the east, Russia's region that borders the Black Sea. Local media reported that dozens of ships, both cargo and those with tourists, are stuck on the Black Sea.

Putin is playing the long game in Ukraine and upping the pressure on their government by provoking conflict in the Azov Sea may be part of it. Thousands of people in those regions have been killed in fighting between Ukrainian troops and the separatists since 2014.

Weapons were used to force the three Ukrainian ships to stop and then they have been held in Russia's territorial waters in the Black Sea, the FSB said.

On photos Russian Navy ship DON ramming Ukrainian tug; tanker blocking Kerch Strait fairway. It said the Kerch Straits had been closed for security reasons.

Haley tweeted that a meeting has been called for 11 a.m. Monday.

The war began after pro-Western protesters overthrew pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, after months of violent protests in the capital, Kiev.

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