Ukrainian Parliament to Debate Martial Law After Russian Attack

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The statement did not mention ramming a Ukrainian tugboat.

After nearly five years of Russian war against Ukraine, tensions are higher after Russian Coast Guard ships on November 25 attacked and then seized three Ukrainian vessels as they tried to cross the Kerch Strait connecting the Black and Azov Sea. Ukraine, along with almost every other country in the world, refuses to recognize that claim.

Seized Ukrainian ships - small armoured artillery ships and a tug boat - are seen anchored in Kerch, Crimea, on Monday. "We call on Russian Federation to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", Pompeo said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is likely to benefit if parliament enacts his proposal of martial law. It is in December, in early December, that I will submit a draft resolution to the Parliament on the date of the presidential elections to be held in accordance with the Constitution on March 31, 2019.

The comments by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov came as Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko demanded the release and safe return of its sailors and boats after a confrontation in the strategically important Kerch Strait.

Trump has not commented on the incident. But the Russian FSB Federal Security Service that is also responsible for border protection claims the ships illegally entered Russian waters.

Interfax news agency quoted Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, as saying on Monday that 24 Ukrainian sailors were being detained.

Haley put the blame firmly on Russia for the clash, calling the seizure of the ships an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory" and slamming "yet another reckless Russian escalation".

The agency, known as the FSB, said in a statement on Sunday night "there is irrefutable evidence that Kiev prepared and orchestrated provocations ... in the Black Sea".

"This incident is a reminder that there is a war going on in Ukraine".

Mr Lavrov hit out at Ukraine, saying "key norms of global law have been violated".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation called an emergency meeting with Ukraine on Monday after the alliance's head Jens Stoltenberg held a phone call with Poroshenko.

At a UN Security Council meeting, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley urged Moscow to "immediately cease its unlawful conduct" in the Black Sea.

Russia's Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz are also locked in a bitter dispute over payments for gas supply, with a court battle still going on. "As stated in our Crimea Declaration, the United States rejects Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea", Pompeo said. Ukraine continues to wage a low-level war against a pro-Moscow separatist insurgency in the eastern part of the country.

But Poroshenko insisted it was necessary because what happened in the Kerch Strait between Crimea and the Russian mainland "was no accident", adding that "this was not the culmination of it yet".

The Ukrainian navy said two of its vessels were struck on Sunday and Russian coast guard crews boarded them and a tugboat and seized them.

Ukranians reacted to the maritime standoff with anger. About 150 reportedly gathered outside the Russian embassy in Kiev, where a auto with Russian diplomatic plates was set on fire.

"Such actions pose a threat to the security of all states in the Black Sea region and therefore require a clear response from the worldwide community", it said.