Lithuania’s president has condemned Russia’s “aggression against Ukraine” after a naval incident near the annexed Crimea peninsula.
Dalia Grybauskaite took to Twitter after the Ukrainian navy said on Sunday that Russian special forces had seized three of its ships in the Sea of Azov.
Grybauskaite said in her tweet that the “capture of Ukrainian vessels” in the Strait of Kerch was “another blatant violation of international law and Russia‘s own commitments.”
The Ukrainian navy said on Sunday that Russia opened fire on the ships and that several Ukrainian sailors were wounded in the incident.
The ru.delfi.lt website has quoted Grybauskaite as saying that “Russia is waging a direct and aggressive war against Ukraine, cynically violating international agreements and its own obligations.”
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tweeted that an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council has been called over the escalating situation between Russia and Ukraine.
The meeting was scheduled to take place in New York at 5 pm Polish time on Monday.
A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has accused the Ukrainian authorities of “provocation.”
The Sea of Azov is bounded by Ukraine to the north and west, and by Russia to the east. To the south it is linked by the Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea.
The Polish foreign ministry has urged Russia to respect international law and condemned Moscow’s “aggressive actions” in the Sea of Azov.
Amid escalated tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the foreign ministry in Warsaw called in a statement for restraint on both sides.
The “situation in the Sea of Azov” is “serious” and may have far-reaching implications for both Ukraine and the entire region, the Polish president’s chief of staff said on Monday.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after a referendum that the Ukrainian authorities and the West said was illegal. Earlier, Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms seized strategic facilities on the Black Sea peninsula from the Ukrainian army and local authorities.
Lithuania’s Grybauskaite was quoted as saying earlier this year that Western powers were naive in their assessment of Russia and that her country should be ready to defend itself against a potential Russian invasion.