Ukraine-Russia sea clash: Poroshenko urges North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to send ships

Aaron Brown
December 1, 2018

Friday their response gained an edge, when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted that Russians aged 16 to 60 would be barred from entering Ukraine, the most concrete measure taken yet by Kiev during the 30 days of the martial law they have declared.

The ban's announcement followed President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday at the G-20 summit in Argentina, with Trump saying that such an interaction would be inappropriate after Russia's detention of the Ukrainian sailors.

"Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security", Poroshenko said.

Moscow is also backing pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine where more than 10,000 people have been killed in fighting.

It has raised fears of a wider escalation - in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 - and prompted worldwide calls for restraint.

Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and their crews on Sunday near the Crimean peninsula over what it said was their illegal entry into Russian waters - a charge Ukraine strongly refutes.

On Sunday, the Russian military seized two Ukrainian naval artillery boats and a naval tug boat.

The statement was strongly worded but will disappoint some European Union members hoping for a harder joint line, after officials had earlier said the bloc was considering new sanctions against Moscow.

Ukraine argues that the incident was evidence of Russian aggression and released a video from aboard one of the Russian ships that Ukrainian authorities intercepted. Russian Federation says it is not planning retaliatory measures.

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Both countries have the right to patrol the waters and it is the site of a new Russian bridge, connecting Russia to Crimea.

In Ukraine, very little changed on the ground on Wednesday.

Guterres urged Russian Federation on Thursday to respect "the territorial integrity of Ukraine" and "avoid the worst" after Russian Federation seized Ukrainian naval ships and their crews in a dispute over maritime access.

Fighter jets and attack helicopters were deployed to assist Russian vessels, which chased the Ukrainian ships down, rammed one and opened fire on all three.

Ukraine's leadership accuses the Moscow-backed faction of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, widely known as the Moscow Patriarchate, of being a tool of the Kremlin to spread Russian propaganda and foster Russian expansionism. The vessels were trying to pass through the Kerch Strait on their way to the Sea of Azov, where Ukraine has two major ports.

He said Poroshenko was creating a naval "provocation" to boost his ratings ahead of presidential elections in the country in 2019. There is also a line of nine vessels to leave the Azov Sea and eight other vessels are standing by near the port berths.

Lubina has not specified how many Ukrainians will be transferred to Moscow.

"Russian citizens will go through an additional interview at the border, their previous visits to Ukraine will be scrutinised", he told Al Jazeera.

The state security service was investigating him under an article in the criminal code covering "violations of citizens' equality depending on racial ethnicity, religious convictions, incitement of inter-confessional hostility", SBU official Ihor Huskov said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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