Russia said Monday it had acted strictly within international law during a confrontation this weekend between Russian and Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait.
"The Russian side acted strictly within both domestic and international law," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a daily press briefing.
Russian navy vessels fired on, boarded and captured three Ukrainian naval ships on Sunday, accusing them of illegally entering Russian waters off the coast of Crimea in the Sea of Azov.
Peskov said Moscow has opened a criminal case "in connection to the violation of Russia's borders" but gave no details on the fate of the Ukrainian sailors held by Moscow.
"We are talking about the intrusion of foreign military ships into Russian territorial waters," he said.
He said President Vladimir Putin was informed when the Ukrainian ships entered "neutral waters in front of Crimea" on Sunday afternoon and that he was briefed on an "ongoing basis".
Peskov said Russia's actions were not "an attack, but necessary actions to prevent the crossing of Russia's borders."
The confrontation at sea has raised fears of a wider military escalation and the UN Security Council was to hold an emergency session later Monday to consider a response.
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