Ukrainian president warns of threat of 'full-scale war' with Russian Federation

Geraldine Edwards
November 29, 2018

According to him, the incident was a provocation by the Ukrainian authorities and, possibly, the country's president, Petro Poroshenko, on the eve of the presidential elections.

The Ukrainian vessels - a tug and two gunboats - were trying to pass through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, but were refused access and chased into global waters by 10 Russian vessels.

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.

"In the case of Russian attack for the Azov shore we are not just prepared to act militarily, we will fight for our independence, for our territory and our freedom", he said.

A rift was growing between Britain and key allies yesterday as European diplomats pushed back on calls for a firmer response to Russia's weekend naval clash with Ukraine.

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The Ukrainian parliament late on Monday, November 26, voted in favor of Poroshenko's request for the introduction of martial law in border areas for 30 days.

The incident was the first maritime confrontation between the two countries in a long-running conflict that has left more than 10,000 people dead.

The Interfax news agency on Wednesday quoted Col. Vadim Astafyev, the top Defense Ministry official in Russia's south, as saying that Russian Federation will add one S-400 anti-aircraft missile system to the three already deployed in the peninsula.

The Kremlin called the introduction of martial law a "reckless" act that "potentially could lead to the threat of an escalation of tension in the conflict region in the southeast" of Ukraine.

The meeting between the two presidents is set to be just one of several high-profile foreign policy engagements for the U.S. leader on a whirlwind two-day visit to Argentina. "Maybe I won't have the meeting".

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A total of 24 Ukrainian servicemen, including two security service agents, were arrested on Sunday, when three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea tried to enter the Kerch Strait to reach the Sea of Azov.

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged European states to do more to support Ukraine and said Washington wants to see tougher enforcement of sanctions against Russian Federation.

This week, a court in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, ordered the other 15 Ukrainian sailors to be detained for two months pending a possible trial.

Because they have a system I guess.

"We repeated a categorical demand to the Russian side to immediately release the captured citizens of Ukraine from custody and ensure their safe return to their homeland", the statement said.

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