US calls on Russia to cease unlawful conduct

US Ambassador Nikki Haley is calling on Russia to “immediately cease its unlawful conduct” in the Black Sea near Crimea during a United Nations Security Council meeting Monday.

The Ukrainian navy says Russian ships fired on and seized three of its artillery ships Sunday. The incident sharply escalated tensions that have been growing between the two countries since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Anne Gueguen, the French deputy permanent representative at the UN, urged the release of the sailors and the vessels. She said Sunday’s incidents show the need for de-escalation and a long term resolution to the dispute over Crimea.

Russia, meanwhile, called Ukraine’s actions “dangerous” and said the three Ukrainian vessels illegally crossed into Russian waters.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, tells the Security Council the weekend incident was another example of Ukrainian leaders trying to provoke Russia for political purposes. He claims Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko needs a war ahead of the March election to gain support from the public.

— AP

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