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Trump admin issues surprising statement over Russian aggression against Ukraine

The U.S. offered a surprisingly strong statement condemning Russia for the escalating tension in the Black Sea. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a surprisingly strong statement against Russia after it fired on three Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea on Sunday, and seized two naval boats.

'A dangerous escalation'

“We strongly support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters," Haley said in a statement Monday.

"We express our deep concern over the incident, which represent a dangerous escalation and violation of international law,” she added.

Haley made the comments at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the escalating tension between the two countries.

She continued on the statement to say Russia's actions were "no way for a law-abiding civilized nation to act," and decried them as “yet another reckless Russian escalation."

Russian officials have claimed that Ukraine violated its territory, but the Kerch Strait is considered "shared" waters under a 2003 treaty between Moscow and Kiev.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for martial law as a response to the continuing aggression from Russia, but his critics saw the move as a way to avoid elections where he might be voted out of power.

Haley said that she had spoken to President Donald Trump and State Secretary Mike Pompeo before making her statement, and said that her statement "reflects the concerns at the highest level of the American government."

"Aggressive Russian action"

Pompeo released his own statement criticizing Russia.

"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members," Pompeo's statement read.

"We urge Presidents Poroshenko and [Vladimir] Putin to engage directly to resolve this situation," he added.

Here are some of the comments from Ambassador Haley:

Haley announced that she would be leaving her position at the United Nations after the new year, causing many to wonder if her successor would continue her strong criticism of Russia given Trump's past statements excusing their aggression.

One last thing…
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