Russia rejected calls from around the world to release three Ukrainian naval ships that its border patrols had fired on and seized near Crimea at the weekend.

Russia rejected calls from around the world to release three Ukrainian naval ships that its border patrols had fired on and seized near Crimea at the weekend.

 With relations still raw after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the incident risks pushing the two countries towards a wider conflict and is likely to renew Western calls for more sanctions on Moscow. 

Russia's FSB security service said its border patrol boats had seized two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors on Sunday.

It said it had opened a criminal case into what it called the ships' illegal entry into Russian territorial waters.

 A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, accused Ukraine of sending the ships to deliberately provoke Russia and said the ranking diplomat at Kiev's embassy in Moscow would be summoned over the incident.

 Kiev denied its ships had done anything wrong and accused Moscow of military aggression.

Ukraine's parliament was due to consider a proposal later on Monday to impose martial law for 60 days after President Petro Poroshenko met his top military and security chiefs on Sunday night over the crisis.

 Russia's rouble currency opened 0.4 percent weaker against the dollar in Moscow, its lowest since mid-November, while Russian dollar-bonds fell.

 Markets are highly sensitive to anything that could trigger new Western sanctions, and therefore weaken the Russian economy.

A fall in the price of oil — Russia's biggest source of revenue — has made its economy more vulnerable.

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