Last Sunday, Russia detained three Ukrainian Navy vessels and their 24 crewmembers after they violated Russia’s maritime borders and were engaged in dangerous manoeuvres in and around the Kerch Strait, an entrance to the Sea of Azov.
Former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has described the Kerch Strait incidentas an attempt by Kiev to draw Germany into a war over Ukraine.
In response to the incident, Ukrainian authorities introduced martial law in certain regions of Ukraine along the border with Russia as well as along the coast of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov for 30 days.
In February 2015, the conflicting sides signed the Minsk peace accords to end the fighting in the region, but the situation has remained tense, with both parties accusing each other of ceasefire violations.
Since 2014, EU members and the US have imposed several rounds of anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict. Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations of interference in Ukraine’s affairs, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.