U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia's seizure of the Ukrainian vessels "a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law" and called for restraint from both countries.
"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Pompeo said in a statement.
The State Department said Pompeo spoke by phone with Poroshenko and reiterated strong U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian "aggression".
Petro Poroshenko agreed to have Ukrainian naval vessels attempt to enter the Sea of Azov without working out the details with Russia first. The Russians had declared the area a restricted zone (which is their right) due to, among other reasons, Ukrainian legislative debates whether to attack and destroy the Russian bridge there. The Ukrainians had previously always requested passage. This time, the Russians say, the Ukrainians did not ask but rather simply tried to go to the bridge, allegedly to go under it and on to Mariupol. The entire point of the exercise was to test Russian resolve, create a lame excuse to ramp up the anti-Russia propaganda, gin up more and more military spending in the US to further enrich military contractors and brass at the direct expense of everyone else (many of whom are living in abject poverty by US standards), and to provide an excuse for Poroshenko to declare martial law in Ukraine to ramp up attacks on the Donbass region and to postpone elections in Ukraine concerning which he is well behind in public opinion polls.
Crimea is Russia. The strait between Crimea and the rest of Russia is narrow. Ukraine has been hostile against Russian Crimea since the Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia. Ukraine has been overtaken by fascistic tendencies. There was a blatant CIA-orchestrated coup in Ukraine. Russian ethnics and unionists were brutally burned alive by those fascists. Russian culture has been significantly outlawed in Ukraine. Open Nazis are in the Ukrainian forces arrayed against the ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine who've declared their independence from neoliberal fascistic Kiev. Russia has territorial waters at the Strait of Kerch. They have the international law of the sea on their side in this argument. Ukraine trying to run that strait was deliberately reckless, and any nation backing Ukraine's actions is moronic and idiotic for it.
It's all just another in a long series of pretexts to further US Empire with Ukraine as a new vassal state right along with France.