Russian authorities arrested several Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian coastguards off the Crimean coast annexed by Russia, and the Ukrainian president accused Moscow of “drastically” reinforcing its military presence on the border . It is the first open military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine since the annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the beginning of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Since then, the Ukrainian forces have clashed with the pro-Russian separatists and has already left more than 10 thousand dead . We recommend you: Declare a state of emergency in Ukraine Accused of illegally crossing the Russian border , 12 Ukrainian sailors, of the 24 who were arrested on Sunday, were placed “in provisional detention until January 25,” according to the decision of a court in Simferopol, capital of Crimea.
In total, 12 Ukrainian sailors appeared before a judge on Tuesday. The rest will be on Wednesday. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko mentioned the threat of “total war” with Moscow and said Russia drastically reinforced its military presence on the Ukrainian border.
Poroshenko referred to a sharp increase in the number of Russian military ships in the Sea of Azov and a reinforced Russian military presence in the Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Moscow four years ago, citing data from Ukrainian intelligence services.
In Crimea , since 2014, “the number of soldiers has tripled, the number of armored vehicles has increased fivefold and that of the artillery has multiplied almost tenfold, ” he said. ” I do not want anyone to think it’s a children’s game, Ukraine is facing the threat of a total war with the Russian Federation ,” he said.
Poroshenko said he tried to talk to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the phone after Sunday’s capture by Russia of three Ukrainian military vessels in the Black Sea, in waters off Crimea, but he did not respond. ” We did not receive an answer, and I was forced ” to ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to speak with Putin” about this incident, added the Ukrainian head of state. In response Ukraine introduced martial law in those border regions for a month.
Ukraine establishes martial law The incident between the Russian coastguards and the Ukrainian vessels occurred in the Black Sea on Sunday when those ships were trying to enter the Kerch Strait to reach the Sea of Azov, a crucial sea route for exports of grain or steel produced in the east. of Ukraine.
The Russian coastguards, who depend on the security services (FSB), forcibly controlled two Ukrainian patrol boats and a tugboat, accusing them of illegally entering Russian territorial waters and capturing a score of sailors on board. Russia called the incident ” provocation “, while Ukraine denounced an “act of aggression” and demanded the release of its sailors and the return of their ships.
The establishment of martial law without precedent since the independence of this former Soviet republic in 1991 was taken at the initiative of the Ukrainian president . His Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday warned Ukraine of any ” irrational ” act after this decision.
The martial law, which will apply from Wednesday morning in Ukraine in a dozen border regions , in particular with Russia, Belarus and the coastal areas of the Sea of Azov, will allow for a month to the Ukrainian authorities to mobilize the population , control the media and limit public meetings.
Putin believes that “it is clear that all this was done in relation to the election campaign in Ukraine “, whose presidential election is scheduled for spring 2019. Russia says it acted “in strict accordance with international law ” and accuses Kiev of seeking “a pretext to reinforce the sanctions” of the EU and Washington against Russia, in force since 2014.
The incident comes a few days after the G20 summit in Argentina, where Vladimir Putin must meet with his US counterpart, Donald Trump . Video of the incident The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley , denounced on Monday at an emergency meeting of the Security Council , an “illegal” action by Russia.
“We do not like what is happening, ” said US President Donald Trump, suggesting that he will work with European countries to resolve the crisis. France called on the parties to ” calm down ” the situation . Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia claimed the monitoring of the Kerch Strait, the only route sea between the Black Sea and Azov The Russian press on Monday broadcast segments of a video of the interrogation of the captured sailors in which a man presented as a captain affirms that the movements of his ship were a “provocation”, repeating the version advanced by Moscow.
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