KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The Latest on raised tensions between Russia and Ukraine (all times local):
The Kremlin has sharply criticized the Ukrainian president's plea for NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov amid a standoff with Russia.
President Petro Poroshenko made the call in an interview with the German daily Bild published Thursday, hoping that NATO countries "are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Poroshenko's request is "clearly aimed at provoking further tensions" and driven by the Ukrainian leader's "electoral and domestic policy motives."
In Sunday's confrontation, Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels and their crews trying to pass into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait between Russia's mainland and Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has discussed the possibility of a Turkish mediation to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.
Erdogan made the comments early Thursday, hours after he held separate telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The Turkish leader said: "Can we assume a mediator role? We discussed this subject with both sides."
Erdogan said he would hold more talks concerning the standoff with both Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine flared on Sunday, when Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian vessels and seized the ships and the crew.
The Ukrainian president is urging NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov amid a standoff with Russia.
President Petro Poroshenko made the call in an interview with the German daily Bild published Thursday, saying that "we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security."
In Sunday's confrontation, the Russian coast guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels that sought to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, between Russia's mainland and the Crimean Peninsula it annexed from Ukraine.
Ukraine insisted that its vessels were operating in line with international maritime rules, while Russia said they had failed to get permission to pass.