(QHA) -

A Russian aircraft flew low near a Canadian warship sailing in the Black Sea Sunday, a move condemned as “provocative” by Canada’s Defence Minister.

The frigate HMCS Toronto was sailing in the Black Sea, home to a large Russian naval fleet, when it was approached by three Russian aircraft early Sunday morning.

“While the Russian military aircraft that circled the HMCS Toronto did not in any way pose a threat to the Canadian ship, their actions were unnecessarily provocative and risk escalating tensions even further,” Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement Monday.

The frigate is taking part in a military exercise known as Sea Breeze, involving 12 ships in all from Ukraine, the United States, Romania and Turkey.

Canada has imposed a series of sanctions on Russian and Ukrainian politicians over Crimean annexation and its role in Ukrainian conflict.