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.
US President Donald Trump has cancelled a planned meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over a naval clash between Ukraine and Russia. On Sunday Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews off the Crimean Peninsula. Mr Trump said he would not meet Mr Putin at a G20 summit in the coming days, "based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned". German Chancellor Angela Merkel blamed the crisis "entirely" on Russia. She said she would raise the issue with President Putin at the G20 meeting, which is due to be held in Argentina on Friday and Saturday.
Kiev, Ukraine - Russia seized three Ukrainian military vessels after they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait off the coast of Crimea, Ukraine's peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. Ukraine says the move violated the 2003 agreement between the two nations on treating the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait as shared internal waters without any restrictions. The Kremlin claimed the Ukrainian ships entered Moscow's territorial waters without submitting the correct transit applications that Russia introduced in recent months to "ensure safe navigation". As tension escalated, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday signed an act imposing martial law for 30 days in regions bordering Russia, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Amid a threat of "full-scale war", Western governments have rallied behind Kiev, accusing Russia of illegally blocking access to the Sea of Azov and using force without justification.
Ukraine has accused Russia of ramming one of its boats off the coast of the annexed Crimea, amid rising tensions. The "openly aggressive actions" occurred as three of its vessels sailed from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, Kiev said. Ukraine's Yana Kapu tug suffered damage to its engine, the Ukrainian navy said. Russia said the ships were in its waters, accusing Kiev of "provocative actions". It later blocked access to the Sea of Azov with a tanker.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has urged Nato to send ships to the Sea of Azov following a naval confrontation with Russia off Crimea. He told Germany's Bild newspaper he hoped the ships could be relocated "to assist Ukraine and provide security". On Sunday, Russia opened fire on three Ukrainian ships and seized their crews in the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Nato has expressed "full support" for Ukraine, which is not a member state. Amid worsening relations on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Mr Poroshenko of creating the naval "provocation" to boost his ratings ahead of 2019 elections.