(AP) – U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called on Russia to “immediately cease its unlawful conduct” in the Black Sea near Crimea during a United Nations Security Council meeting Monday.
The Ukrainian navy says Russian ships fired on and seized three of its artillery ships Sunday. The incident sharply escalated tensions that have been growing between the two countries since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Anne Gueguen, the French deputy permanent representative at the U.N., urged the release of the sailors and the vessels. She said Sunday’s incidents show the need for de-escalation and a long term resolution to the dispute over Crimea.
Russia, meanwhile, called Ukraine’s actions “dangerous” and said the three Ukrainian vessels illegally crossed into Russian waters.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council the weekend incident was another example of Ukrainian leaders trying to provoke Russia for political purposes. He claimed Porschenko needed a war ahead of the March election to gain support from the public.
In related news, NATA Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday afternoon that all NATO allies have “expressed full support with Ukraine” and called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian ships and sailors.