Ukraine and Russian Federation in naval standoff near Crimea bridge

Shipping in both directions was suspended after a large cargo ship was moored across the only navigable channel through the Strait of Kerch, the only passage between the Black and Azov seas, on Sunday afternoon.

"The Russian Federation has once again demonstrated its aggressive nature and complete neglect of the norms of global law", the Navy said, referring to a treaty from 2003 which guarantees free passage through the Kerch Strait for Ukrainian and Russian vessels.

Several dozen ships were anchored near the strait as they waited for the standoff to be solved, marine traffic tracker website VesselFinder.com showed on Sunday.

Russian state TV said Russian combat helicopters had also been deployed to the area.

"Russian coast guard vessels ... carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships", a Ukrainian navy statement said.

The Russian Federal Security Service says that it has evidence that Ukraine is responsible for clashes between Russian and Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. Moscow alleged that Ukrainian ships had been manoeuvring dangerously and ignoring its instructions with the aim of stirring up tensions.

Russia blocks Kerch Strait amid confrontation with Ukraine

The boats were approaching the Kerch Strait between Crimea and Russian Federation when the tug boat was struck, damaging its engine, guard rail and outer shell.

Later, pro-Russian separatists took over parts of Donbass in southeastern Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook that the incident was characteristic of Ukrainian behavior: provoke, pressure and blame for aggression. Ukraine's small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol sustained damages and were immobilized.

"After the group of the Ukrainian navy's vessels started leaving the Kerch Strait, Russian ships and boats began pursuing, demanding they stop and threatening to use weapons", the press service of the Ukrainian Navy said on Facebook in its previous update as of 19:00 local time on Sunday, November 25.

"Their goal is clear", an FSB statement said, "to create a conflict situation in the region". The statement didn't mention ramming a Ukrainian tugboat.

Earlier in the day, Ukrainian military vessels crossed the Russian sea border, entered the temporarily-closed area of Russian territorial waters and were moving from the Black Sea toward the Kerch Strait, according to FSB.

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