Russian authorities decided to close the Kerch Strait after three vessels of the Ukrainian Naval Forces entered Russian waters in the Black Sea on Sunday.

According to the Russian side, three Ukrainian ships left the Mariupol port and headed towards the Kerch Strait. They did not react to the Russian side’s warnings and instructions.

“They have crossed the state border of the Russian Federation, and they have unlawfully entered the temporarily closed area of the Russian Federation’s territorial sea,” a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) statement says.

The FSB added that the closure of the Kerch Strait was a counter-measure to Ukrainian provocation.

According to Ukrainian authorities, their vessels had a right to pass freely over the Kerch Strait based on international law. The Command of the Naval Forces of Ukraine put the blame on the Russian side for “its aggressive essence.”

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