‘United’ EU stands behind Ukraine over naval standoff

Saul Bowman
December 6, 2018

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responded by introducing martial law for 30 days in the country's border areas and barring all Russian males aged 16 to 60 from entering the country, a move he said was needed to prevent Russia from assembling destabilizing forces in Ukraine.

President Petro Poroshenko is said to be fearful that President Vladimir Putin is planning his next show of strength and has called on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to send in warships as tensions escalate between the two countries.

"Yes, the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk are partially released again", it said in its statement with reference to the cities, which lie on the Northern shore of the Azov sea.

Among them are Adm Gennadiy Medvedev, chief of the Coast Guard and deputy chief of the FSB's border guard service; Alexey Salyaev, commander of the Don coast guard ship (that rammed a Ukrainian tug); and Andrei Shipykin, commander of the Izumrud coast guard ship (that fired on the Ukrainian vessels).

Meanwhile, Russia has taken centre-stage at NATO Tuesday as allied foreign ministers meet to debate ways to dissuade Moscow from destabilising Ukraine and encourage it to respect a landmark Cold-war era nuclear treaty.

Moscow's actions in the Sea of Azov have occurred in the context of a dramatic increase in the size and capability of Russia's Black Sea fleet and land-based forces in Crimea under the Russian state armament program.

Despite worldwide calls for their release, the Ukrainians were sentenced to two months detention and are now held in Moscow.

The government in Moscow had founded the backwater with the bad weather.

Russia's aggression in the Sea of Azov is also clearly a marker of its intent in the region, and indicates that Moscow has no qualms about using military capabilities to interdict and delay both commercial and military interests operating in the region.

The foreign ministers discussed the standoff but did not agree any concrete new measures to help Ukraine.

At the same time, Stoltenberg stressed that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is enhancing its presence in the Black Sea due to Russia's aggression. The Kremlin's spokesman on Monday dismissed as "absurd" the notion that Russian Federation wanted to forcibly take over Ukrainian ports.

"The sixth type of violence going on now is the physical and psychological pressure and illegal arrest of all 24 of our military, and the refusal of a permit and hiding information about the health status of the 3rd Ukrainian detainees who have been wounded in a Russian attack", - said Frolov.

Peskov said Monday that "no such conversation is planned".

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