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Putin Warns Against ’Reckless’ Moves as Ukraine Declares Martial Law

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Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine against any "reckless acts" Tuesday after Kyiv declared martial law in response to Moscow's seizure of three of its navy vessels.

In a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin expressed "serious concern" over the introduction of martial law, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin said Kyiv's actions were "clearly taken in view of the election campaign in Ukraine".

He said he hoped Berlin could intervene with Ukrainian authorities "to dissuade them from further reckless acts".

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said later both Ukraine and Russia must show that they are actively working to de-escalate situation.

The Ukrainian Parliament late Monday voted in favor of President Petro Poroshenko's request for the introduction of martial law in parts of the country for 30 days.

The decision came as Ukraine and Russia face their most dangerous crisis in years after Russian forces fired on, boarded and captured Kyiv's ships Sunday off the coast of Crimea.

The incident was the first major confrontation at sea in the long-running conflict pitting Ukraine against Moscow and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east.

Sunday's incident has been playing out on Russian and Ukrainian television screens, with dramatic footage of Russian ships chasing down a Ukrainian tugboat that was trying to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine has accused Russian border patrol vessels of ramming the tugboat, which was accompanied by two small warships, and of firing on the Ukrainian vessels.

The head of Ukraine's state security service [SBU] said Tuesday a Ukrainian military counterintelligence officer was seriously wounded after Russian aircraft fired missiles at the vessels in their encounter

Moscow has so far resisted calls to release the three ships or the 24 sailors it has detained, suggesting they could face criminal action.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team