Ukraine urges German naval presence in Black Sea

Ukrainian soldiers launch an anti-aircraft rocket during military exercises near Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

MOSCOW (AP) — Ukraine's leader called on Germany and its allies to boost their naval presence in the Black Sea to deter Russia from further aggression in the region and said Russia was blockading Ukrainian ports on the nearby Sea of Azov.

President Petro Poroshenko says Russia has deployed a large number of troops along its border with Ukraine. He alleged in an interview published Sunday that Russia intends to push inland into Ukraine following a clash in the Black Sea between the countries' forces.

"We need a strong, unified, unambiguous reaction to Russia's aggressive behavior," Poroshenko said in the interview published by Germany's Funke Media Group.

Citing the imminent threat of a Russian offensive, Poroshenko convinced the Ukrainian parliament to implement 30 days of martial law.

and said Russia was blockading Ukrainian ports on the nearby Sea of Azov.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko addresses the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the military airfield in Vasylkiv region, Ukraine, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, as Poroshenko transferred new aircraft and military equipment to the Ukrainian Armed Forces as part of his working visit. Russia and Ukraine traded blame as tensions between the neighbouring countries have escalated over recent days. (Mykola Lazarenko, Presidential Press Service via AP)

During the naval clash a week ago, Russian coast guard vessels fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval boats and their 24 crew members. The incident has driven tensions between Russia and Ukraine to their highest point since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014

A man swims in the cold sea water in front of Mariupol trade port in Mariupol, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

"Moscow is trying to create a land corridor from occupied Donbas to occupied Crimea by blockading Mariupol and Berdyansk," Poroshenko said in the interview, referring to two Ukrainian cities on the coast of the Sea of Azov.

Ukrainian soldiers drive APCs near Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the Nov. 25 clash in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. During that engagement, Russia closed the Kerch Strait to all traffic. Ukrainian officials have since accused Russia of denying passage to Ukrainian commercial traffic in and out of Mariupol and Berdyansk.

Ukrainian soldiers sit atop an APC near Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)A helicopter's machine gun is turned toward the sea shore during patrol near Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)Ukrainian tanks are being transported in Urzuf, south coast of Azov sea, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Ukraine put its military forces on high combat alert and announced martial law this week after Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)