Russia-Ukraine tensions soar after confrontation at sea

28 November, 2018, 02:21 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Ukrainian navy accuses Russia of seizing three ships after allegedly firing on them near Crimea

He cited Ukrainian intelligence reports as saying that Russian forces were forming just kilometres from the border with Ukraine.

But she did not specifically threaten further sanctions, instead calling for a de-escalation of tensions over Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed in 2014 in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

The SBU on Tuesday confirmed the presence of its officers on the ships but denied any nefarious intentions, saying they were simply fulfilling counterintelligence operations for the Ukrainian navy.

"Russia is. shooting darts ahead of the 2019 [Ukrainian] presidential election that will make Poroshenko look weak", Roderich Kiesewetter, an MP from the ruling CDU party in Germany, said.

Russian officials said 24 Ukrainian servicemen had been detained and Peskov said a criminal investigation had been opened.

The Ukrainian parliament on Monday adopted a motion by the president to impose martial law for 30 days.

The tugboat was escorting two Ukrainian naval vessels from Odessa on the Black Sea to the port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait when the incident occurred.

President Petro Poroshenko said the extraordinary measure was needed to strengthen the country's defenses as there was the "extremely serious" threat of a land invasion from Russian Federation.

The Russian military deployed six security service vessels and four navy warships, as well as combat helicopters and fighters, Hrytsak said. "At the same time, the Security Service of Ukraine requests the top command of Russian intelligence to halt psychological and physical pressure on Ukrainian soldiers, now being exercised to justify the act of flippant aggression", the press service added.

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The injured officer and about 22 merchants were taken into custody by Russian forces, who also seized the three Ukrainian vessels.

The Kerch Strait is the only passage between the two seas.

Poroshenko told lawmakers that the special powers will only affect regions of Ukraine bordering Russia, Belarus and Moldova's "breakaway republic" of Trans-Dniester, which the president has identified as in the front-line of any potential Russian strike, according to the Associated Press.

"I have to emphasize that, according to the global law, Crimea and respective territorial waters are the Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation", Ukraine's UN Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko told the Security Council. The other three regions border the Black Sea or Sea of Azov close to Crimea.

The FSB claimed the ships had Ukrainian SBU intelligence agents abboard with a mission to mount what they called "provocation" in the Kerch Strait.

While other USA officials took a strong stand behind Ukraine, President Donald Trump seemed more equivocal.

The confrontation is the latest unsafe development in the conflict pitting Ukraine against Moscow and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country. The Kerch Strait is the only way for Ukrainian ships to travel between its Black Sea and Sea of Azov coastlines. The decision is meant to put troops at a higher state of combat readiness for 30 days in areas where Ukraine shares a border with Russian Federation.

"Sunday's outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory is part of a pattern of Russian behavior that includes the purported annexation of Crimea and abuses against countless Ukrainians in Crimea, as well as stoking conflict that has taken the lives of more than 10,000 people in eastern Ukraine. We´re all working on it together", Trump told reporters at the White House.

"Russia attacked Ukrainian military vessels on the Sea of Azov on Sunday", the president said in a statement.

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