UKRAINE DEMANDS RUSSIA RELEASE VESSELS AS TENSIONS BUILD
Ukraine’s president demanded Monday that Russia immediately release Ukrainian sailors and ships seized in a standoff around Crimea that sharply escalated tensions between the two countries and drew international concern.
The two neighbors have been locked in a tense tug-of-war since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, but the incident late Sunday in which Russian coast guard ships fired on Ukrainian navy vessels near the Kerch Strait directly pitted the two militaries, placing them on the verge of an open conflict.
The Ukrainian navy said six of its seamen were wounded when Russian coast guards opened fire on three Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait and then seized them. Russia said that three Ukrainian sailors were lightly injured and given medical assistance.
Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, chaired an emergency meeting of his Cabinet early Monday and asked parliament to introduce martial law in response to what he described as Russian aggression.