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Russia seized three Ukrainian ships after firing on them near the annexed Crimean peninsula Sunday, threatening a dangerous escalation in the crisis between the two countries.THIS YEAR?Tensions have increased in the area this year, with Ukraine accusing Russia of persistently detaining ships sailing to and from its ports on the Azov Sea, especially Mariupol and Berdyansk, with a view to disrupting trade.Ukraine says trade to the ports has been cut by 30 percent since Russia began hassling its ships.Ukraine was also incensed by Russia unveiling in May a $3.6 billion bridge from its mainland across the Kerch Strait to Crimea.
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