Ukraine is asking the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, for help after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged NATO countries to send naval ships to the Sea of Azov. His comments were reported in the German newspaper Bild.
Poroshenko said Ukraine’s NATO allies were needed “to provide security” after Russian forces seized the ships and their crews on Sunday. He told the newspaper the seizures showed that Russian President Vladimir Putin “wants nothing less than to occupy the sea.”
The Ukrainian government has said Russia is blocking shipping activity to and from Ukrainian ports near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. The Kerch Strait connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea.
Russia denies it is restricting shipping in the area. It has said the Ukrainians were violating Russian waters and that Ukraine did not inform Russian officials of its naval movements. Ukraine denies this.
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