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

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

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

As the "total war" between Ukraine and Russian Federation approaches over the conflict in the Kerch Straits, the Ukrainian president has a message for Putin.

He told Germany's Bild newspaper he hoped the ships could be relocated "to assist Ukraine and provide security".

Mr Poroshenko called for the move after Russian forces fired on, boarded and captured three of Kiev's ships on Sunday off the coast of Crimea.

In his first comments on Sunday's incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instigated the confrontation to boost his standing in upcoming elections.

Kiev has introduced martial law in parts of the country, saying it fears a possible Russian invasion.

In the interview with Bild, Mr Poroshenko said Vladimir Putin wanted "nothing less than to occupy the [Azov] sea".

"It's important to keep our powder dry and be ready at any moment to push back the aggressor", said Poroshenko, adding that he had received offers from hundreds of Ukrainian war veterans who said they were ready to return and defend the country.

"We need a strong, resolute and clear reaction to Russia's aggressive behaviour", he told Funke. Germany, too, has to ask itself: "What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?"

"We call on Russian Federation to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity", Pompeo said in a statement.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday it still expected a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to go ahead
APThe Kremlin said on Wednesday it still expected a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump to go ahead

A photograph of the damaged Ukrainian vessel was published November 26 on a military news website, showing the damage allegedly from a Russian 30 mm naval cannon projectile.

The United States and the European Union have both imposed sanctions on Russia over its conduct towards Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow seized and annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula after a pro-Russian leader was toppled in Kiev.

"The Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov - Mariupol and Berdiansk - are effectively under blockade by the Russian Federation".

Both countries agreed to share the sea in a 2003 treaty, but Russia's decision to open a bridge across the Kerch Strait this year has exacerbated tensions.

But Merkel recently acknowledged its "political dimensions" and said Ukraine must continue to be a conduit for Russian gas sold to western Europe. Recent polls suggest that only about 10% of the electorate plans to vote for him next year, with and almost 50% saying they would not vote for him under any circumstances, the Kyiv Post newspaper reported.

Lavrov, speaking in Geneva, said Russian border agents and interrogators had found documents on the vessels that "clearly show that these ships had been ordered to not inform the authorities of Kerch Strait and to try and break into the Sea of Azov secretly".

"Military vessels intruded into Russian territorial waters and did not answer (the border guards)".

It called on Russian Federation to release the ships and their crews and respect Ukraine's sovereignty.

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