"The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable for its actions, and we will continue to work with European partners and Allies to present a unified front against the Kremlin’s aggression," the US State Department said in a Saturday statement, commenting on the incident.
"We also welcome the unanimous decision of the European Council to extend economic sanctions against Russia. We support the EU position that Russia’s November 25th attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea constituted a violation of international law and welcome the EU’s efforts to provide support to areas of Ukraine negatively affected by Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov," the statement adds.
After the incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election. The martial law would affect the campaign, set to start in late December, amid Poroshenko's low approval rating, Putin added.
The US State Department also said in its statement that the United States urges Germany to take into account concerns of the neighbouring states over the Nord Stream 2 construction.
"The United States welcomes recent steps by the EU and its Member States to hold Russia accountable for its aggression against Ukraine. The European Parliament’s December 12 resolution reiterates the importance of Ukraine’s role in the European energy supply network and condemns the construction of the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political project. We urge Germany to heed the concerns of the many neighbours whose security will be damaged by this pipeline," the Saturday statement reads.
Some of EU states, particularly Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, have opposed the project, claiming that it was politically motivated. Ukraine has also slammed the project, not willing to lose its share in gas transit to Europe, and the United States, which is seeking to squeeze Russia out of the EU energy market in order to deliver more liquefied natural gas to Europe. Other western states have supported the project, with Germany calling Nord Stream 2 a purely commercial project and saying no one would benefit from abandoning it.