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Ukraine Parliament Approves Martial Law After Naval Skirmish With Russia

28 November 2018

"Russia attacked Ukrainian military vessels on the Sea of Azov on Sunday", the president said in a statement.

The increasingly fraught situation around the sea has unfolded in parallel to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, where fighting in recent years between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military has killed more than 10,000 people.

The strait is spanned by a new bridge that Russia completed this year - the only land link from the Russian mainland to the annexed peninsula of Crimea. "Reports that Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent a risky escalation and a violation of global law".

Russian Federation and Ukraine traded blame for the confrontation that raised the specter of a full-blown conflict between the neighbors.

Sleboda said Russia didn't overreact by stopping the vessels, either, noting the extensive measures the Russian ships took to deter and then disable the ships.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation said Stoltenberg expressed the USA -led military alliance's "full support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, including its full navigational rights in its territorial waters under global law".

"They did not respond to legitimate demands by the ships and boats of Russia's FSB Border Guard Service escorting them to stop immediately and performed unsafe maneuvers", the FSB said, according to TASS.

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The Ukrainian parliament late on Monday voted in favour of Poroshenko's request for the introduction of martial law in border areas for 30 days.

"The officers of the Ukrainian special service were carrying out assignments regarding counter-intelligence support for a Ukrainian naval formation, as provided for under paragraph 12 of Ukraine's law on the security service", Hrytsak was quoted as saying in an SBU press statement issued early on November 27.

Poroshenko delivered a speech to Ukraine's parliament asking it to approve the declaration of martial law starting Wednesday, with the military already on full alert. Russian politicians have accused Poroshenko of deliberately instigating the standoff to boost his flagging popularity ahead of elections in March.

In Sunday's confrontation, Ukraine sent three small naval vessels from their Black Sea base in Odesa to Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov.

Kateryna Kruk, a Ukrainian activist who was a part of the Euromaidan protests and 2014 revolution, told Foreign Policy that Monday's actions might not themselves serve as evidence of a strong and vibrant democracy, but at least show that Ukraine's politicians can talk to each other, make concessions, and come to a compromise.

Ukraine officials claim that its three warships were in waters shared by both countries under a 2003 agreement.

Sunday's incident occurred as the Ukrainian navy ships, including a tugboat, tried to pass through the Kerch Strait, a strategic waterway that separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

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Declaring martial law could potentially allow Poroshenko to postpone the vote and rally more support through anti-Kremlin appeals.

There was a unsafe escalation on Sunday in the long-running crisis between Ukraine and Russia, as the Russian coast guard attacked and seized three Ukrainian military ships and their crew.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and stressed the need for de-escalation and dialogue, her spokesman said on Tuesday.

The narrow strait is the only passage between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. "We're all working on it together", Trump told reporters.

An emergency session of the UN Security Council was held on Monday to discuss the crisis.

His Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov blamed Kiev for what he described as a "provocation", adding: "Ukraine had undoubtedly hoped to get additional benefits from the situation, expecting the United States and Europe to blindly take the provocateurs' side".

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It placed a huge cargo ship beneath the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait Bridge to block Ukrainian boats from access to the sea. Three Ukrainian crew members were injured during the altercation and subsequently received treatment from Russian medics.

Ukraine Parliament Approves Martial Law After Naval Skirmish With Russia