NATO calls emergency meeting with Ukraine over naval standoff

NATO will hold an emergency meeting with Ukrainian officials at alliance headquarters in Brussels later today over the naval standoff with Russia off the coast of Crimea.

Russia fired on and then seized three Ukrainian ships yesterday, accusing them of illegally entering its waters in the Sea of Azov, in a dramatic spike in tensions that raises fears of a wider escalation.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg held phone talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and officials from the two sides will meet later in the day.

Kiev demanded the return of its ships and sailors, denouncing it as another act of armed aggression by Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The Ukrainian military has been put on high and the country’s parliament is to vote on a request by Poroshenko to impose martial law for 60 days.

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