Published: Wed, November 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Ukraine says Russian Federation may be preparing to launch a large-scale ground invasion

Ukraine says Russian Federation may be preparing to launch a large-scale ground invasion

These were calmed with a 2003 bilateral treaty stipulating that both countries could use the Kerch Strait and Azov Sea freely for commercial shipping and must notify each other while sending military vessels.

Russia's attack on Ukrainian military vessels in the Black Sea marks the first time the Kremlin has staged open aggression against Ukraine since President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea four years ago, and launched a destabilization campaign in the Donbas region.

Russian Federation and Ukraine have blamed each other for the confrontation that raised the specter of renewing a full-blown conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Supposed video confessions of three Ukrainian naval officers aboard the ships have today been released by the FSB, Russia's primary intelligence agency and successor to the KGB.

Kiev accuses Moscow of trying to impose a de facto economic blockade on its ports in the Azov Sea to weaken it as part of a "hybrid war" against Ukraine, and has called for further Western sanctions against Moscow. 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.

Angrily. Ukraine called the attack on the ships an "act of aggression" and parliament voted to declare martial law in border territories, a measure it resisted even at the worst moments of the conflict in south-east Ukraine. A spokesman for Russia's Federal Security Service, which oversees the coast guard, said that the Ukrainian boats breached Russia's territorial waters, executed unsafe maneuvers, and failed to heed warnings. Sunday's conflict, Moscow says, was "thoroughly planned and orchestrated" to distract Ukrainians from domestic problems ahead of their March 2019 presidential election. It is the only outlet to the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov, location of major Ukrainian ports.

Some 200 protesters waving Ukrainian flags and anti-Russia slogans have demonstrated outside the Russian Embassy in Poland over the latest standoff between Russia and Ukraine.

At a UN Security Council meeting, United States ambassador Nikki Haley urged Moscow to "immediately cease its unlawful conduct" in the Black Sea.

Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations, said his country has audio recordings of radio traffic that proves the Russian military orchestrated the incident.

Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone early Tuesday, and the Russian president expressed a "serious concern" about what the martial law in Ukraine might entail. "Therefore, we should assume that the decision to introduce martial law is an attempt to exploit the situation and increase his public support", they continued.

A Russian ship is reported to have opened fire on a Ukrainian vessel, while another was caught on video ramming a Ukrainian tug boat off the Crimean coast Sunday.

A Russian fighter-bomber fired two missiles at Ukrainian ships during Sunday's naval clash, causing serious injuries to an officer aboard one of the vessels, Ukraine's security services said Tuesday.

The Sea of Azov has been a flash point in the conflict between the two countries.

With tensions spilling over, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas suggested on Tuesday that Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine could work together to resolve the tensions between Moscow and Kiev. "And hopefully it will get straightened out". "But it will need to be reviewed", Karin Kneissl told reporters.

Earlier, the Russian envoy to the United Nations, Dmitriy Polyanskiy, said at a November 26 UN Security Council emergency session in NY that two SBU officers had been on board one of the Ukrainian military vessels trying to enter the Sea of Azov through the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait.

European Council President Donald Tusk backed Poroshenko's calls for the release of the sailors via Twitter.

Like this: