MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on tensions between Russia and Ukraine (all times local):
A senior German official is calling on Russia and Ukraine to de-escalate tensions after Russian coast guard ships fired on Ukrainian navy vessels.
Michael Roth, a deputy foreign minister, told Deutschlandfunk radio Monday that the matter is “very dangerous — the last thing we need is a further escalation in relations between Russia and Ukraine.”
Roth said he didn’t have any information of his own on the incident “but it is clear that Russia, in accordance with international law, must ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian harbors in the Sea of Azov.” He added that “both sides must now de-escalate” and avoid a spiral of tensions that “could ultimately lead to terrible consequences.”
Moscow and Kiev are trading blame over the incident that further escalated tensions that have soared since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
The Ukrainian parliament is set to consider a presidential request for the introduction of martial law in Ukraine following an incident in which Russian coast guard ships fired on Ukrainian navy vessels.
Ukraine’s navy said six Ukrainian seamen were wounded when Russian coast guards opened fire on three Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait and then seized them late Sunday.
The two nations traded blame over the incident that further escalated tensions that have soared since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine said its vessels were heading to the Sea of Azov in line with international maritime rules, while Russia charged that they had failed to obtain permission to pass through the narrow Kerch Strait separating Crimea from the Russian mainland.