Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine's leader, Petro Poroshenko, of trying to boost his ratings ahead of 2019 elections with a naval confrontation off Crimea. Russian FSB border guards opened fire on two Ukrainian gunboats and a tug before seizing the Ukrainian crews. "He had to do something to make the situation more tense," Mr Putin told an investment forum on Wednesday. Ukraine has condemned the incident as a Russian "act of aggression". Mr Poroshenko has declared martial law for 30 days in response to the crisis.
Statements by three captured Ukrainians have been released by Russia's security service after Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian boats off the coast of Russian-annexed Crimea. One of the men, Volodymyr Lisovyi, said he was aware of the "provocative nature" of the Ukrainian action. Ukraine's navy commander said the men had been forced to lie under duress. Meanwhile, a court in Crimea ordered the first of the 24 Ukrainians captured on Sunday to be detained for 60 days. Western nations have condemned Russia's use of force, four years after it seized Ukraine's southern Crimean peninsula.
Ukraine's parliament is to decide whether to bring in martial law, after the capture of three of its naval vessels by Russia. The three ships were sailing off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, when they were seized. Ukraine said Russia rammed one of its boats in an "act of aggression", while Russia said the ships had illegally entered its waters. The incident marks a major escalation of tension between the two countries. This is the first time the two militaries have come into open conflict in recent years, although Ukrainian forces have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.
The United Nations has held an emergency session on what Ukraine has called "an act of aggression" off the coast of Crimea, following the seizure by Russia of three Ukrainian ships during a naval clash in the Black Sea. The Security Council meeting on Monday came just a few hours before the Ukrainian parliament passed a proposal by the country's president to impose martial law for 30 days. Addressing the council, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, warned Russia that the seizure of the ships on Sunday in the Sea of Azov was an "outrageous violation" of Ukraine's sovereign territory and urged the international community to condemn Russia's "arrogant" act. Haley said such "outlaw actions" are preventing normal relations from developing between Washington and Moscow. Russia has said the three ships - two small armoured artillery vessels and a tugboat - entered Russian territorial waters illegally.