Here's What Happened In Russia And Ukraine's Naval Clash
Here's What Happened In Russia And Ukraine's Naval Clash
Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Firing At Its Ships In Black Sea
28 November, 2018, 06:38
Article 2 of the agreement guarantees freedom of movement through the straits and in the Sea of Azov to all Russian and Ukrainian commercial and military vessels.
Ukrainian troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014, a conflict that has left over 10,000 dead, but fighting has eased since a truce in 2015.
Since the annexation of Crimea by Moscow in 2014, a bridge has been built across the strait, connecting the Crimean peninsula with Russian Federation. Following an intense hours-long game of cat-and-mouse and the blocked Ukrainians' attempt to break through, the guards saw no option but to open fire and seize the vessels. Additionally, Russia continues to occupy part of Ukraine's Donbas region militarily, and that conflict still claims the lives of soldiers on both sides, sometimes daily.
The damage on one of three Ukrainian ships is seen after it had been seized, November 25, 2018, in Kerch, Crimea. A 2003 treaty designates the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov as shared waters between the two countries.
Moscow has accused Kiev of planning Sunday's confrontation as a provocation aimed at drumming up support for Mr Poroshenko ahead of elections next year and convincing Western governments to impose further sanctions on Russian Federation. Poroshenko promises that martial law would not mean Ukraine's immediate mobilization for war or the restriction of civil rights.
It's also the closest point of access for Russian Federation to Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Ukrainian parliament late on Monday voted in favour of Poroshenko's request for the introduction of martial law in border areas for 30 days. Meanwhile Russian military intelligence released footage in which a detained Ukrainian naval officer admits to provocative actions in the waterway.
Poroshenko said he's in possession of intelligence suggesting a serious threat of a land-based operation against Ukraine by Russian Federation.
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Critics of Poroshenko say that instituting martial law could be a tactic of the current Ukrainian president to postpone an election that he is in danger of losing. Russian politicians have accused Poroshenko of deliberately instigating the standoff to boost his flagging popularity ahead of elections in March. The standoff is the result of months of rising tensions over ships navigating the Azov Sea, a body of water north of the Black Sea shared by Ukraine and Russian Federation.
The number of Russian units deployed along the Ukraine-Russian border has "grown dramatically" while the number of Russian tanks has tripled, Poroshenko said, citing intelligence reports but giving no precise timescale for the buildup.
U.S. Ambassador to the United NationsNikki Haley has criticized Russia's seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels, calling it an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory". Tensions have been rising lately over the access to the Kerch Strait, where the incident took place, and the Sea of Azov.
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin did not plan to speak to his Ukrainian counterpart about the incident.
By mid-afternoon Monday, there had been no response from the White House or the State Department to the crisis, but Haley said she was speaking after consulting with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Strait links the Azov Sea to the Black Sea.
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Since Russia annexed Crimea, tension has risen with both countries complaining about shipping delays and harassment. During a meeting of the NSDC, Mr Poroshenk called Russia's actions "unprovoked and crazy".
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