BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko demanded the immediate release of the Ukrainian servicemen who were detained on Sunday by Russian security forces, after their vessels breached Russia’s territorial waters.
“We demand their immediate return to the Ukrainian side along with the vessels, and an immediate de-escalation of the situation in the Sea of Azov as a first step,” said the Ukrainian president in Kiev on Monday.
Russian’s Federal Security Service (FSB) impounded the Ukrainian vessels and initiated a criminal case against their crew for their “illegal” trespass of the Russian state border, according to a statement.
The FSB said weapons were used to induce the Ukrainian vessels to stop, after they had performed “dangerous maneuvers.” Three Ukrainian military personnel were injured as a result and received medical attention.
According to Ukrainian authorities, their vessels had a right to pass freely through the Kerch Strait, based on international law. Moscow says it was not given advanced warning.
On Sunday, Poroshenko chaired an emergency meeting with ministers and military officials in Kiev, where he proposed the introduction of martial law in response to the incident.
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