Turkey ‘concerned’ over targeting of Ukrainian vessels

Turkey expressed concern Monday over reports that Russian military opened fire on Ukrainian navy vessels, wounding crew.

Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Turkey followed the developments and the escalating tensions in the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait.

"As a littoral state of the Black Sea, we emphasize that freedom of passage at the Kerch Strait should not be hindered.

We urge all parties to refrain from steps endangering regional peace and stability, to respect international law and to act in common sense and restraint to avoid increasing the tensions," the statement added.

Russia seized three Ukrainian navy warships off Crimea in the Sea of Azov on Sunday.

Kremlin said the vessels ignored calls to stop at the border, sparking military action.

The Ukrainian Navy earlier accused Russia of opening fire on its warships off Crimea, asserting that crew members were wounded and its vessels were seized by Russia.

The escalation follows Russia's blocking of the Kerch Strait, the only passage to the Sea of Azov, by placing a cargo vessel under the Crimean Bridge.

Source: Anadolu Agency