The Kremlin has sharply criticized the Ukrainian president’s plea for NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov amid a standoff with Russia.

President Petro Poroshenko made the call in an interview with the German daily Bild published Thursday, hoping that NATO countries “are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Poroshenko’s request is “clearly aimed at provoking further tensions” and driven by the Ukrainian leader’s “electoral and domestic policy motives.”

In Sunday’s confrontation, Russian ships fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels and their crews trying to pass into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait between Russia’s mainland and Crimean peninsula.

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