The United States expresses its deep concern over Russia's plans to block foreign naval ships and state vessels in parts of the Black Sea, including near occupied Crimea and the Kerch Strait, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of State.
As reported by Censor.NET.
"Russia has a history of taking aggressive actions against Ukrainian vessels and impeding access to Ukraine's ports in the Sea of Azov, impacting Ukraine's international commerce," the statement reads.
Russia's current actions represent "yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow's ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine."
At the same time, the Department of State said that this development was particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop build-up in occupied Crimea and around Ukraine's borders.
"The United States reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. The United States does not, and will never, recognize Russia's purported annexation of Crimea," the statement said.
At the same time, the U.S. Department of State commended Ukraine for its continued restraint in the face of Russian provocations.
"We call on Russia to cease its harassment of vessels in the region and reverse its build-up of forces along Ukraine's border and in occupied Crimea," the statement reads.