"The United States expresses its deep concern over the incident in the Black Sea that occurred Nov. 25 as Ukrainian vessels attempted to transit through the Kerch Strait. Reports that Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law," U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement on Nov. 26, Censor.NET reports.
"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.
"We call on both parties to exercise restraint and abide by their international obligations and commitments. We urge Presidents Poroshenko and Putin to engage directly to resolve this situation. In that regard, we reiterate our support for the Normandy Four format.
"The United States supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters, as well as the right of its vessels to traverse international waters. As stated in our Crimea Declaration, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea," top U.S. diplomat said.
As reported, three Ukrainian vessels remain seized by Russian special forces in the Black Sea after fire was opened on them. Two Ukrainian boats Berdiansk and Nikopol were struck by enemy fire and lost their course. The Yanu Kapu tugboat was also forced to stop. At least six Ukrainian servicemen were wounded.
President Petro Poroshenko held a War Cabinet due to extraordinary events in the Azov Sea. Ukraine asked for a meeting of the UN Security Council to be urgently convened.
During an emergency meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, Poroshenko supported the proposal of the War Cabinet regarding the introduction of martial law in Ukraine.
Late on Nov. 26, Ukraine's parliament backed the presidential decree introducing 30-day martial law in the Ukrainian regions sharing border with the Russian Federation.