Ukraine says Russian jet fired missiles during clash at sea

Ukrainian Naval Vessels Detained by Russia Carried Weapons Ammunition- FSB

On Monday, Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the U.N., called the incident an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory" and "another reckless Russian escalation" during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Russian Federation has rejected Western calls to free Ukrainian ships and sailors and to unblock access to the Azov Sea, while trumpeting its alternative account of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is talking about declaring martial law in his country as Russian aggression continues.

Ukrainian forces have been battling Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.

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 U.S. and Europe to blindly take the provocateurs' side".

The hostilities began when Russia blocked two Ukrainian military boats and one tugboat from sailing under a new Russian bridge spanning the Kerch strait, the channel that connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea to the south.

Russia has so far refused to release them saying the sailors had crossed illegally into Russian waters and had also ignored warnings from its border guards.

Trump said European leaders were working on the situation.

Ukrainian vessels have to run a gauntlet of Russian security forces to get from the Black Sea through the bottleneck of the Kerch Strait and into the Azov Sea to reach Ukrainian ports.

"I realized that the actions of the Ukrainian navy ships was of a provocative character".

Kiev has accused Moscow of blocking access for Ukrainian ships though the strait, the only way in and out of the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.

Supposed video confessions of three Ukrainian naval officers aboard the ships have today been released by the FSB, Russia's primary intelligence agency and successor to the KGB. "As stated in our Crimea Declaration, the United States rejects Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea".

It comes as a Crimea court ordered three of the 24 Ukrainians captured on Sunday to be detained for two months.

A lawyer for one of the sailors, said 21 of them were expected to appear in court in Simferopol, the main city in Russian-annexed Crimea. Both Russia and Ukraine use the strait routinely.

At one point, one of the sailors is heard saying that "the actions of the Ukrainian armed vessels in the Kerch Strait had a provocatory character" - parroting the version of events put forward by Russian authorities.

Ukraine's foreign minister told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he has asked the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross to arrange a visit to the Ukrainian prisoners and he's waiting for a Russian response.

The head of Ukraine's SBU security service, Vasyl Hrytsak, confirmed Russian reports that members of the service were on board the boats, but added that it was a "routine counter-intelligence mission" of a type that the Russian navy carried out regularly too.

In response, the Ukrainian government Monday night imposed martial law for one month in parts of the country officials say are vulnerable to possible military action from Russian Federation.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said any Russian "blockade" of the Sea of Azov was "unacceptable" and proposed French-German mediation to resolve the crisis.

The European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation have issued statements calling for restraint on both sides of the conflict.



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