Tensions in the Sea of Azov. On Sunday, the Russian navy opened fire on three Ukrainian ships before seizing them in the Kerch Strait, the narrow passageway connecting the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. Moscow claims the Ukrainian ships – two small armored artillery vessels and a tugboat – had entered Russian territorial waters near Crimea illegally. Russian warplanes and combat helicopters were deployed in the area. Six Ukrainian sailors were injured. Russia accused Kiev of orchestrating the entire incident; making Moscow the villain would create the conditions for new Western sanctions, and the imposition of martial law in Ukraine would allow Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to delay upcoming elections, in which he is trailing. (The parliament will vote on the issue of martial law later today.) Russia has been slowly solidifying its position in Crimea since seizing the peninsula in 2014. It’s bided its time, preparing for a potential military conflict, and if statements
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