"We have already seen these games of Russia. They hope for the silent consent of the international community to the creeping annexation of Crimea and the attempts to change the facts of reality by force. We must prevent this from happening," said UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Jonathan Allen.
Joining the demand of United States Deputy Representative to the UN Jonathan Cohen, the British diplomat also underscored the importance of a strong demand that Russia must release Ukrainian sailors and return captured Ukrainian Navy ships.
"The international community should stay united while calling on Russia to immediately release all 24 sailors and three ships captured," he said and added that Russia must also ensure free passage through the Kerch Strait to and from the Sea of Azov.
The representative of Lithuania agreed with him, saying that Russia must release the sailors and return Ukrainian ships "unconditionally." The representative of Sweden joined this statement and said that Sweden fully supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The representative of Germany noted that the actions of Russia "should not go without response."
The representatives of Poland, Estonia, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Georgia, Latvia and Canada in their speeches joined the demand to release Ukrainian ships and their crew unconditionally and without delay. The representative of Latvia called the Ukrainian sailors prisoners of war.
On Nov. 25, Russian border vessels committed aggressive actions against three Ukrainian ships that set sail from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Azov Sea. After that, Russian special forces opened fire on the Ukrainian tugboat Yany Kapu, small armored artillery boats Berdiansk and Nikopol in the Kerch Strait and seized them. There were 23 sailors on board the ships, and six of them were wounded.
Russia announced its intention to try detained Ukrainian sailors for allegedly illegal crossing of the Russian state border.
On Nov. 26, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Ukraine related to the latest developments in the Black and Azov Seas.
Later on the same day, Ukraine's parliament gave the green light to a presidential decree on the introduction of martial law for 30 days in 10 regions of Ukraine – Vinnytsia region, Luhansk region, Mykolaiv region, Odesa region, Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Chernihiv region, Kherson region, Donetsk region and Zaporizhia region, as well as the inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
On Nov. 28, the Russian rubberstamp district court of Simferopol city in Crimea arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured by Russian FSB near the Kerch Strait, for two months. They all face six years in prison.