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25 November 2018, 10:50 | Tara Lloyd
A U.S. Air Force RC-135V W Rivet Joint with the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron
Earlier on Sunday, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of breaking global law after Russian border guards tried and failed to stop Ukrainian ships circumnavigating Crimea en route to a Ukrainian port.
Russian Federation blockaded a strategic waterway to prevent three Ukrainian naval vessels from entering the Sea of Azov, in a sharp escalation of tensions over disputed waters around Crimea.
Both sides have recently increased their military presence in the Azov region, with Kyiv accusing Moscow of harassing ships heading for Ukrainian ports such as Mariupol.
RQ-4 Global Hawk
The move came after three Ukrainian navy ships made what the Russian coast guard has called an unauthorised crossing through "Russian territorial waters".
"Russian coast guard vessels (...) carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships" during the transit, the Ukrainian navy statement said.
The latest incident comes after the Ukrainian navy in September complained of "acts of provocation" by Russian border guards against its ships taking the same route.
A Russian cargo ship is seen beneath the Kerch Bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula on November 25. Mariupol is close to the region of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists in a conflict that has caused at least 10,000 deaths since 2014.
But the FSB said the Ukrainian ships "illegally entered a temporarily closed area of Russian territorial waters" without authorization.
The FSB, which is responsible for maintaining Russia's borders, denounced the Ukrainian vessels' actions as a deliberate provocation aimed at creating "conflict situations" in the region.
Ukraine's foreign ministry added that they would liaise with their allies concerning Moscow's "violent acts", saying they "pose a threat to the security of all states of the Black Sea region, and therefore require a clear reaction from the worldwide community". However, Russia has been asserting greater control over the passage since 2015.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook that the incident was characteristic of Ukrainian behavior: provoke, pressure and blame for aggression.
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