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FSB to Escort Ukrainian Ships Seized in Black Sea Over Border Violation to Kerch

© Sputnik / Photo: Crimea's FSB Press Service / Go to the mediabankUkrainian naval ships violating Russian maritime border, Photo: Crimea's FSB Press Service
Ukrainian naval ships violating Russian maritime border, Photo: Crimea's FSB Press Service - Sputnik International
SIMFEROPOL (Sputnik) - Three Ukrainian ships seized in the Black Sea for illegally crossing the Russian border will be escorted to the port of Kerch, a spokesman for the Border Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) for Crimea, Anton Lozovoy, said on Monday.

"All three vessels have been seized. They are being convoyed to the port of Kerch," Lozovoy told reporters. According to the FSB spokesman, a criminal case has been initiated under Russian Criminal Code Article 322.3 (illegal crossing of the state border). Three slightly wounded Ukrainian soldiers have received medical assistance, Lozovoy added.

Fireworks launched by protesters, explode near the Russian embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, September 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
Kiev Radicals Throw Smoke Flares at Russian Embassy Amid Kerch Strait Incident
Earlier, the FSB reported that three ships of the Ukrainian Navy — Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany Kapu — had been seized after violating the Russian state border. The Ukrainian boats did not react to legal demands of the ships accompanying them and made dangerous maneuvers, the FSB noted.

First Deputy Chair of the Russian parliament upper chamber's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Dzhabarov, told Sputnik that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko could have orchestrated the provocation in an attempt to boost his approval ratings ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

"All of this has been orchestrated by Poroshenko, who is lagging behind in the [presidential] election [campaign]. His goal is to introduce the state of emergency in Ukraine to cancel the elections or set up all Ukrainians against Russia in order to try to improve his approval rating with the help of a new wave of anti-Russia sentiments," Dzhabarov said.

READ MORE: Poroshenko Threatens to Impose Martial Law in Ukraine Amid Kerch Strait Issue

Several Ukrainian warships crossing Russia’s territorial waters and attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait. - Sputnik International
WATCH Russian FSB Ships Pursue Ukrainian Vessels in Kerch Strait
Ukraine is set to hold a presidential election on March 31, 2019, while parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 2019.

Earlier in the day, Poroshenko advocated for the imposition of martial law in Ukraine, saying that "the decision does not provide for immediate mobilization, but training of the primary reserve pool will be conducted."

Meanwhile, Russia has requested an urgent meeting of UN Security Council members at 11 a.m. on Monday (16.00 GMT) to discuss the situation in the Kerch Strait.

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