Ukrainian tugboat 'rammed' in Black Sea standoff with Russian coast guard

26 November, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Russia has stopped Ukrainian vessels entering the Sea of Asov by placing a huge cargo ship beneath a Crimean bridge

Poroshenko also said that Ukraine would stick to the Minsk Agreements, peace deals his government inked with Russia and pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine that were created to stop a war that claimed more than 10,000 lives since 2014.

Moscow has called for an emergency UN Security Council meeting following an incident near Crimea that saw the Russian military detain Ukrainian warships for breaking into its territorial waters in violation of the UN convention.

"Russian coast guard vessels ... carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships" during the transit, the Ukrainian navy statement said.

A Russian cargo ship is seen beneath the Kerch Bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula on November 25.

The Ukrainian navy said its ships would continue performing their tasks in keeping with worldwide law, while all illegal actions by Russian Federation were recorded by the crews and would be handed over to the respective global agencies.

Meanwhile, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), which oversees the country's border guard service, accused Kyiv of illegally entering its waters and deliberately provoking a conflict.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, also retweeted a comment by a US reporter in Ukraine, Nolan Peterson, who said: "Tonight, a war that many people in America can only imagine thanks to Hollywood movies, teeters on the razor-thin edge of becoming real".

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

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A tanker under the bridge shut all navigation from and into the Sea of Azov.

Russia is still fomenting rebellion in some breakaway provinces and Russian troops - despite denials by the government - are still in Ukraine.

Kurt Volker, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, challenged the Russian account of events, appearing to blame Moscow for the conflict in one of the first official reactions from Washington.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters declined to say Monday whether its ambassadors would meet to discuss the incident, but the alliance is in contact with Ukrainian authorities.

Russia's border guard service accused Ukraine earlier on Sunday of not informing it in advance of the three ships' journey, something Kyiv denied.

Earlier on Sunday, Russia and Ukraine traded accusations over another incident involving the same three vessels, prompting Moscow to block passage through the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov posted a video to Twitter on Sunday which was apparently shot from inside the Russian vessel as it rammed the Ukrainian tug.

"We strongly condemn Russia's actions. which may pose a threat to the stability of European security", the Polish foreign ministry said.

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