By Washington Times. Russia’s coast guard opened fire on and seized three of Ukraine’s vessels Sunday, wounding two crew members, after a tense standoff in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula, the Ukrainian navy said.
Russia blamed Ukraine for provoking the incident, which sharply escalated tensions that have been growing between the two countries since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and it has worked steadily to bolster its zone of control around the peninsula.
Earlier in the day, Russia and Ukraine traded accusations over a separate incident involving the same vessels, prompting Moscow to block passage through the narrow Kerch Strait, which separates the peninsula from the Russian mainland.
The Ukrainian navy said two of its gunboats were struck and Russian crews boarded and seized them and an accompanying tugboat.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the FSB and which oversees the coast guard, said there was “irrefutable evidence that Kiev prepared and orchestrated provocations … in the Black Sea. These materials will soon be made public.” (Read more from “Russia Opens Fire on Ukrainian Navy Ships” HERE)
Tension Escalates After Russia Seizes Ukraine Naval Ships
By BBC News. Russia has fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.
Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian forces. A number of Ukrainian crew members were injured.
Each country blames the other for the incident. On Monday Ukrainian MPs are due to vote on declaring martial law.
The crisis began when Russia accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its waters.
The Russians placed a tanker under a bridge in the Kerch Strait – the only access to the Sea of Azov, which is shared between the two countries. (Read more from “Tension Escalates After Russia Seizes Ukraine Naval Ships” HERE)