Ukrainian nationalists attend a rally in front of the Parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, on Monday, demanding that the country break diplomatic relations with Russia and nationalization of Russian property in Ukraine. Photo by Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA-EFE
Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in Kiev voted to impose martial law Monday after the Russian coast guard seized three Ukrainian ships.
Ukraine's Parliament approved martial law for a period of 30 days in regions most vulnerable to a potential Russian attack. The vote came upon a request from President Petro Poroshenko, who sought to "ensure the state's sovereignty and independence of Ukraine," a declaration on his website said.
"We consider it as an act of aggression against our state and a very serious threat," Poroshenko said.
"Unfortunately, there are no 'red lines' for the Russian Federation."
The United Nations Security Council and North Atlantic Treaty Organization have urged restraint from both sides.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called Russia's actions an "outrageous violation."
"In the name of international peace and security, Russia must immediately cease its unlawful conduct and respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all states," she said during the U.S. Security Council meeting.
A video posted to Twitter shows a Russian boat purposely ramming a Ukrainian tugboat on Sunday near the Kerch Strait. The Russians opened fire on two other boats and seized all three for illegally entering territorial waters. Ukrainian officials say six sailors were injured. Russian media say three were injured.
Russia detained 24 Ukrainian sailors.
Poroshenko could postpone the March election while restricting Ukrainians' civil liberties and giving the state more power. Russian state media said Poroshenko provoked the incident to delay the election, which he could lose, and to create tension between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin before they meet this week.
Russia also launched several warplanes to patrol the Kerch Strait, a strategic waterway for both countries. Complicating matters, Russia opened a new bridge over the Kerch Strait in May that connects the Crimea peninsula to Russia's mainland. Russia took over Crimea in 2014.