(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –NATO head Jens Stoltenberg urged Russia on Monday to release Ukrainian navy ships and sailors seized over the weekend near Crimea, saying there was no justification for Moscow’s actions.
Ukraine has accused Russia of military aggression and puts its armed forces on full combat alert after Russia on Sunday fired on and then captured the three ships and 24-strong crew in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea with the Azov Sea.
Kiev has urged its Western allies to consider further sanctions against Moscow. Russia in its turn has accused Ukraine of plotting with the West to provoke a crisis.
“We saw that Russia used military force against Ukraine in an open and direct way,” Stoltenberg told a news conference after emergency talks of the Western military alliance held at the request of Ukraine, which is not a NATO member.