The Ukrainian government is reportedly considering implementing martial law in response to Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels.
What happened to the naval vessels?
The Kerch Strait is the only route between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Ukraine and Russia have agreed that they need access to the strait, and signed a treaty in 2003 designating it as a shared region that both nations were free to access.
However, after its seizure of Crimea, Russia built a nearly 12-mile bridge spanning the strait. It now claims that the strait is Crimean territory and not international waters.
On Sunday, the Russian military seized two Ukrainian naval artillery boats and a naval tug boat. Ukraine has said that six of its sailors were injured when the ships were taken, although Russia insists that it was only three and that they had been given medical assistance.
According to Reuters:
The FSB said it had been forced to act because the ships — two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat — had illegally entered its territorial waters, attempted illegal actions, and ignored warnings to stop while maneuvering dangerously.
Russia used a tanker on Sunday to block off the strait to all traffic.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he will ask the Ukrainian Parliament to impose martial law. The Parliament will reportedly consider that measure Monday.
Critics of Poroshenko say that instituting martial law could be a tactic of the current Ukrainian president to postpone an election that he is in danger of losing. The Russian government has accused Poroshenko of somehow orchestrating the entire incident in order to postpone the election.
The European Union and NATO have issued statements calling for restraint on both sides of the conflict. In a statement, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said, “We call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian posts in the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law.”
On Sunday, Daily Signal correspondent Nolan Peterson tweeted that this was “the most dangerous moment” he had seen in Ukraine “in years.”
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley retweeted Peterson and added, “An emergency Security Council meeting has been called for tomorrow [Monday] at 11:00am.”
An emergency Security Council meeting has been called for tomorrow at 11:00am https://t.co/FpCAD2rGPn— Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley (@Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley) 1543191352.0
A few hours earlier, President Donald Trump tweeted that European nations needed to “pay their fair share” for NATO protection, adding, “Things must change fast.”
Europe has to pay their fair share for Military Protection. The European Union, for many years, has taken advantage… https://t.co/BCzK1aitdo— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1543177654.0