Ukraine: Russia 'partially' unblocks Sea of Azov after Kerch clash

05 December, 2018, 02:51 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Russia massing troops, weapons at Ukraine border – Kiev

"This is certainly a provocation organized by the current government, I think, including the current president, on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine in March next year", Putin said.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has reiterated its call on Russian Federation to release Ukrainian sailors and the ships they seized, the bloc's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine, ordered martial law across the country's borders for a thirty-day period.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said in a statement on Tuesday that Russian Federation attacked Ukrainian military vessels on the Azov Sea and that we must use the right terms: this is war in Europe. That would give Russian Federation a notice period of six months to decide whether to comply.

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Omelyan, who accused Russian Federation last week of blocking Ukrainian cargo trying to pass through the strait, said Tuesday that the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol have been "partially unblocked" thanks to a "stern worldwide response".

Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said merchant ships were moving through the Kerch Strait linking the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. Western and Ukrainian confusion as well as Russian rejoinders stem from legal and pseudo-legal complexities injected by Russia into what passes for the legal status of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait.

The separatist conflict in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland against Russia-backed rebels has taken a toll on the nation's economy, reducing the cargo flow through the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov.

The pretext for the decision to declare martial law was an incident in the Kerch Strait on November 25, when three Ukrainian warships, en route from Odessa to Mariupol, illegally crossed Russia's state border, entered Russia's territorial waters and started performing unsafe maneuvers. "And control the Sea of Azov", he added.

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The US and its allies have condemned what they described as unjustified use of force by Russian Federation and urged it to release the ships and their crews.

Merkel said "free shipping into the Sea of Azov to the Ukrainian coast and harbors must be ensured".

According to a French aide, Friday's version entailed Putin drawing a map for Macron of the Kerch Strait, to buttress his position that the seized Ukrainian ships had intruded into Russian waters - a claim denied by Kiev. "In response to Russia's aggressive actions, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has substantially increased its presence in the Black Sea region over the past few years".

Poroshenko said he tried to arrange a phone call with Putin to discuss the standoff but the Kremlin has refused.

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"What happened on November 25th is an extraordinary event that took place for the first time in 4.5 years of Russian aggression", Poroshenko said in a television interview".

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