European Union chief Donald Tusk is calling on Russia to stop provoking Ukraine and is urging the authorities to return any Ukrainian ships or sailors it is holding amid a naval standoff in Crimea.
The European Council President said in a tweet Monday: “I condemn Russian use of force in Azov Sea.” He added that “Russian authorities must return Ukrainian sailors, vessels and refrain from further provocations.”
He said he has discussed developments with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and will meet the Ukrainian leader’s representatives later on Monday.
Tusk added: “Europe will stay united in support of Ukraine.”
The Russian coast guard fired on three Ukrainian ships Sunday near the Kerch Strait, then seized them along with the crews.
NATO says its ambassadors and Ukraine’s envoy will hold emergency talks in Brussels later Monday over the naval standoff between Ukraine and Russia near Crimea.
The military alliance said the meeting was called at the request of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko after he held talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO says Stoltenberg expressed the U.S.-led military alliance’s “full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, including its full navigational rights in its territorial waters under international law.”
The Russian coast guard fired on three Ukrainian ships Sunday near the Kerch Strait and then seized them along with the crews.