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UN Security Council to convene after Russia seizes Ukrainian navy ships. Romanian Foreign Ministry expresses ‘deep concern’

The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Monday after Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships off the coast of Crimea, the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which oversees the country’s border guard service, said it was forced to open fire on the ships on Sunday after they illegally entered Russian territorial waters, dw.com reports.

“There is irrefutable evidence that Kiev prepared and orchestrated provocations,” it said. “These materials will soon be made public.”

Three Ukrainian sailors wounded in the clashes were in a stable condition and receiving medical care, it added.

In a first reaction, on Twitter, the Romanian Foreign Ministry expresses concern, but it does not say that these new confrontations took place in the Black Sea, ziare.com reports.

“We are deeply concerned about the developments in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait. Aggression and violation of international laws undermine the security of the entire region, and Romania fully supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and its right to use its international waters,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) says.

Earlier on Sunday, Russia blocked access to the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea, accusing the same three Ukrainian vessels of entering its territorial waters without permission, dw.com reports.

The two Ukrainian navy artillery boats and a tugboat were transiting from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait, a narrow passage between Crimea and the Russian mainland.

The Ukrainian navy said a Russian coast guard vessel responded to their presence by ramming the tugboat, resulting in damage to the ship’s engines and hull.

Ukraine’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, shared a video on Twitter purporting to show the moment the Russian ship rammed the tugboat.

President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that he would propose parliament declare martial law. This would restrict civil liberties and give state institutions greater power.

The European Union and NATO separately called for restraint on both sides and for Russia to restore freedom of passage via the Kerch strait.

 

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