Official: Ukraine plans another naval foray into Sea of Azov

Official: Ukraine plans another naval foray into Sea of Azov
FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2018 file photo, damage can be seen to one of three Ukrainian ships seized by Russia during a naval incident near the annexed Crimean Peninsula. A top official from Ukraine has told the BBC in remarks posted on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, that the country plans to again send its warships into the Sea of Azov, a move that could set the stage for another clash with Russia. (AP Photo, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A top Ukrainian official says that the country plans to again send its warships into the Sea of Azov, a move that could set the stage for another clash with Russia.

Oleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, has told the BBC that another such mission is necessary to prevent Russia from claiming control over the sea. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denounced his remarks as a “provocation.”

On Nov. 25, the Russian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 seamen when they tried to sail from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov. Ukraine said its boats operated in line with international rules, while Russia charged that the Ukrainian vessels had failed to obtain permission to pass.