Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he tried to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russian forces had captured Ukrainian boats near the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, but the Russian side did not respond.
"That night, I ordered a [phone] conversation with Russian President Putin, but there was no response, and I had to ask the German chancellor to talk with Putin on the immediate release of Ukrainian servicemen and Ukrainian vessels," he told Ukrainian TV channels on Tuesday evening.
"We must stay united and defend our people till the very end," he added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a telephone conversation on the evening of November 26, called on Putin to engage in dialogue in connection with an attack by the Russian military on Ukrainian vessels.
The vessels were captured by Russian forces at sea near the Kerch Strait, which is the only outlet to the Sea of Azov and controls access to two major Ukrainian ports, when two Ukrainian artillery boats and a tugboat were heading from Odesa on the Black Sea to Mariupol on the Sea of Azov.