North Atlantic Treaty Organisation calls emergency meeting with Ukraine on sea clash


Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree imposing martial law in response to the the naval standoff with Russian Federation.

Poroshenko wrote on Twitter that he declined to impose martial law for 60 days to avoid affecting residential election campaigns.

This morning, I had a phone call with President Poroshenko who requested the NATO - Ukraine Commission meeting.

"It is an arrogant act that the global community must condemn and will never accept", Haley said.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian vessels was an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory" and warned against the Kremlin "making matters worse".

She said her statement reflected "the concerns at the highest level" of United States leadership, adding that "outlaw actions like this one" would make it impossible for the USA to normalize relations with Russian Federation.

Video from a Russian ship, including strong language from the bridge crew, shows it ramming a Ukrainian tug boat - one of the three vessels that was reportedly seized.

According to the Ukrainian government, Russian forces opened fire on the Ukrainian Navy vessels.

Interfax news agency quoted Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, as saying on Monday that 24 Ukrainian sailors were being detained.

The Russians seized the three Ukrainian ships - the tugboat Yany Kapu and the two gunboats, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, according to the online publication The War Zone.

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But so far, neither Trump nor Pompeo have directly addressed the crisis, although Pompeo met with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin last week to reaffirm the two countries' strategic partnership.

A spokesman for the FSB, the country's Federal Security Service - which oversees the coast guard - said the Ukrainian vessels violated territorial waters and had to be stopped.

NATO Allies and Ukraine discussed the serious situation in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. "I will make every effort to stay within this short term and squeeze out the maximum opportunities from this month to increase our readiness to repel a possible full-scale offensive of the aggressor country: Russian Federation", he said.

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

The passage has also reportedly been blocked by a Russian tanker ship with no indication of when it will move.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement condemning "this aggressive Russian action" and calling on "both parties to exercise restraint and abide by their global obligations and commitments".

On November 25, 2018, three ships of the Ukrainian navy were transiting from Odessa to Mariopol harbor when the Russian navy intercepted the convoy as it was trying to pass through the Kerch Strait, under the bridge newly constructed between Crimea and Russia.

In September, Kiev announced plans to establish a naval base on the Azov, and Washington has said it is mulling more military assistance for Kiev to counter Russia's actions.

Had anybody ever heard of the Sea of Azov? Kyiv, on the other hand, says "occupiers [in Donetsk] fired on our positions 16 times", wounding two soldiers.

It is likely an attempt to put a stranglehold around the important steel exporting city of Mariupol, which despite the war in eastern Ukraine and its proximity to Crimea, has continued to thrive and contribute to the country's economy, Arel said.