Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Ukraine introduces martial law citing threat of Russian invasion

Russia blocks passage in Kerch Strait Near Crimea, Deploys Su-25 Jets And Ka-52 Attack Helicopters. Ukrainian navy accuses Russia of seizing three ships after allegedly firing on them near Crimea
Gerardo Duncan | 27 November, 2018, 07:01

The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the Russian action against the Ukrainian navy ships as "an act of aggression aimed at deliberately escalating the situation in the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait", and called for worldwide condemnation of Moscow and the imposition of new sanctions.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, added that Ukraine did it so that its president, Petro Poroshenko, could put off elections by imposing martial law because he was not doing very well in polls.

"The National Security and Defense Council's decision concerning "emergency measures to ensure Ukraine's state sovereignty and independence and declare martial law in Ukraine" is hereby enacted", President Pyotr Poroshenko announced on his website.

"[It's] an arrogant act that the worldwide community must condemn", she added.

In the evening, Ukraine said its vessels had been fired on and seized by the Russians.

In a statement published on November 26, Russia's Foreign Ministry called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Ukraine's "flagrant violation" of the rules of innocent passage in Russia's territorial sea.

She said her statement reflected "the concerns at the highest level" of United States leadership, adding that "outlaw actions like this one" would make it impossible for the USA to normalize relations with Russian Federation.

Ukraine braced for war Monday as its president warned of a potential Russian invasion in the wake of Sunday's attack on three Ukrainian military ships.

"Russian coastguard vessels ... carried out openly aggressive actions against Ukrainian navy ships", Ukrainian authorities said in a statement, revealing that the tugboat's engine, hull, railings, and lifeboat were damaged in the incident.

Russia blocks passage in Kerch Strait Near Crimea, Deploys Su-25 Jets And Ka-52 Attack Helicopters.
Russian seizure of Ukrainian naval ships off Crimea sparks alarm

The Russians seized the three Ukrainian ships - the tugboat Yany Kapu and the two gunboats, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, according to the online publication The War Zone.

Russia's FSB border guard force says the flotilla violated Russian territorial waters, after the FSB had temporarily closed an area of water to shipping.

'There is also information that two Ukrainian sailors have been injured'.

'Such actions pose a threat to the security of all states in the Black Sea region and therefore require a clear response from the worldwide community, ' the statement said.

"They want to cut off our seaports on the Azov Sea and it's extremely important for the exports of Ukrainian steel and commercial products", said Shevchenko.

Ukraine denied its ships had done anything wrong, accused Russian Federation of military aggression, and asked for the global community to mobilise to punish Russian Federation. Kiev has accused Moscow of blocking access for Ukrainian ships though the strait, the only way in and out of the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. Russia, Ukraine's closest neighbor and major trading partner, vehemently opposed the deal, fearing an uncontrolled flow of goods through what was then virtually an open border.

The latest area of rising tension occurred Sunday in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea off the eastern edge of the Crimean Peninsula.

In 2014, Ukraine's pro-Russian leader was overthrown, after large-scale protests against the government's decision to abandon plans to sign an association agreement with the EU. Ukraine, however, argues that this was an unprovoked act of Russian aggression.

Part 1, Article 36 of the UN Convention states that in the straits referred to in Article 37 of the UN Convention, all ships and aircraft shall enjoy the right of transit passage which shall not be obstructed.

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