Our Bureau
11:51 AM, November 26, 2018
1523
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Seizing Navy Ships, Violated Border Says Moscow
Seized Ukrainian ships anchored in a port in Kerch (Image:BBC)

The Ukrainian Navy has accused the Russian forces to have opened fire on a group of its ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula late on Sunday striking two warships before seizing them. Three Ukrainian crew members sustained minor injuries.

Russia has in turn charged the Ukrainian vessels of violating it border. It admitted to three crew members sustaining injuries and said first aid was offered to them.

Ukraine also states that the Russian forces seized the vessels along with a navy tugboat. Russia reportedly blocked the three Ukrainian Navy ships from passing from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait, Radio Free Europe reported Sunday.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova late on November 25 accused Ukrainian authorities of using "gangster tactics" in the Kerch Strait -- first a provocation, then pressure, and finally accusations of aggression, the news portal reported.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), which oversees the country's border-guard service, was quoted by the news daily that the Russian forces fired weapons at the Ukrainian Navy ships to get them to stop after they had illegally entered Russia's territorial waters.

But the Ukrainian Navy says its vessels -- including two small-sized artillery boats -- were attacked by Russian coast-guard ships as they were leaving the 12-mile zone of the Kerch Strait and moving back into the Black Sea.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said late on November 25 that "Russian special forces have taken over some ships."

Poroshenko called a meeting of his military cabinet to evaluate and determine Ukraine's next steps.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said it considered Russia's "aggressive actions" to be a violation of international law that would be met with "an international and diplomatic legal response."

Earlier the same day, Kyiv said a Russian coast-guard vessel rammed the Ukrainian Navy tugboat in the same area as three Ukrainian ships approached the Kerch Strait in an attempt to reach the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.

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