Ukraine orders martial law as fears of Black Sea 'Iron Curtain' grow

Ukraine orders martial law as fears of Black Sea 'Iron Curtain' grow

Ukraine's parliament has voted to support the president's motion to impose martial law for 30 days.

Ukraine has imposed martial law for 30 days after three of its vessels were seized by Russian Federation.

The State Department said Pompeo spoke by phone with Poroshenko and reiterated strong US support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian "aggression".

"We condemn Russia's act of aggression in seizing three Ukrainian vessels and their crew", a Downing Street spokesman said.

The escalating crisis came amid global outrage over the incident in the Kerch Strait, with European Council President Donald Tusk condemning Russia's "use of force" and demanding it "return Ukrainian sailors, vessels and refrain from further provocations". Poroshenko instructed the Foreign Ministry to inform the Group of Seven and the United Nations Security Council of the events.

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The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations made the remarks during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Monday. Videos coming from the scene show a cargo ship, accompanied by two Russian military boats blocking the passage under the arch of the Kerch Bridge, which connects Crimea to Russia.

He said six Ukrainian sailors were wounded, a total of 24 were taken into custody, and the three ships were seized.

According to the Russians, the Kerch Strait was closed because three Ukrainian vessels sailed through the Russian territorial waters without authorization. "Here on several pages is a detailed description of all the forces of the enemy located at a distance of literally several dozens of kilometers from our border", he said.

"I want to emphasise separately that we have all irrefutable evidence that this aggression, this attack on the Ukrainian Navy's warships was not a mistake, not an accident, but a deliberate action", he said in a statement.

Russia and Ukraine have also been locked in conflict since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea by Russia in 2014, and a war with Russian-backed separatists in the country's east has claimed more than 10,000 lives. At the moment, they are heading at full speed in the direction of the Kerch Strait to the zone where provocation was organized by the Ukrainian side.

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"NATO is closely monitoring developments in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait, and we are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities".

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". Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.

A number of Western countries condemned Russia's actions.

Moscow is able to control access between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea after it built a bridge that straddles the Kerch Strait between Crimea and southern Russian Federation.

On Sunday, Russia dispatched warplanes to patrol the area after the Ukrainian navy tried to send the ships through the Kerch Strait, a waterway with strategic significance for both countries that passes under a newly built Russian bridge. They also said Ukraine should stop respecting a 2003 agreement with Russian Federation on sharing the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and Azov Sea that is at the core of the standoff. Kyiv, on the other hand, says "occupiers [in Donetsk] fired on our positions 16 times", wounding two soldiers.

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Ukraine had previously detained a Russian fishing vessel travelling from Crimea in March.

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