The Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday strongly protested against what it called "a gross violation of the rules of peaceful passage" by the Ukrainian Navy in the Sea of Azov.
"Obviously, it was a well-thought-out provocation carefully devised in terms of place and form, aimed at inciting another hotbed of tension in this region, creating a pretext for toughening sanctions against Russia," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine's Charge d'Affaires in Russia Ruslan Nimchinsky by the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters. [Photo: VCG]
On Sunday, Russian border guards opened fire at Ukrainian military vessels near the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, saying the Ukrainian navy breached the Russian border, and conducted dangerous maneuvers in spite of Russia's orders.
Six Ukrainian military sailors were wounded in the attack and two of them were in serious condition, the Ukrainian Navy said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday proposed parliament impose a 60-day martial law in the country, while saying "Ukraine does not plan to fight anyone" over tensions with Russia.
Russia demanded an urgent convocation of the UN Security Council to discuss the incident, the Russian ministry said in the statement.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the UN Security Council will meet to discuss the incident later in the day.
Ukraine has accused Russia of "aggressive actions" in the Sea of Azov after Russia inaugurated a bridge over the Kerch Strait earlier this year and started inspecting commercial ships sailing through the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
Moscow rejects such accusations, saying that Crimea is part of Russia, which can exercise its sovereign rights in nearby waters, and the Kerch Strait is not an international passage.
The Russia-Ukraine relations have been souring since Crimea, formerly part of Ukraine, was incorporated into Russia following a local referendum in March 2014, which Ukraine and Western countries refuse to recognize.
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