Kremlin Denies Accusation it Has Designs on Ukrainian Sea Ports

Kremlin Denies Accusation it Has Designs on Ukrainian Sea Ports

Kremlin Denies Accusation it Has Designs on Ukrainian Sea Ports

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

Putin also said that he spoke about the matter with several foreign leaders at the G-20 summit.

The martial law order included a ban on entry to Ukraine of all Russian males aged 16 to 60, a move Poroshenko said is created to prevent undercover Russian military units from infiltrating the country.

Over the weekend, Poroshenko said that Russian Federation has deployed a large number of troops and tanks along its border and intends to push inland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday said it was "too early" to return the Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 sailors that Moscow captured last week, The Guardian reported.

"I hope that such a meeting will take place when the American side is ready for it", Putin said, adding that Russian Federation and USA need to conduct a dialog on such hard areas as the INF treaty and START-3, since "this is important for other countries as well".

Pursuant to a 2003 agreement, both Russian Federation and Ukraine are free to move in the Kerch Strait as they wish.

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 Ukrainian seamen have been put in custody for two months pending Russia's investigation into the clash.

Vitaliy Sinhur, a dock worker in Berdyansk, said the movement of ships has significantly ebbed.

Amid the tensions, the Russian military said its forces in Crimea were conducting drills involving Bal and Bastion long-range anti-ship missile systems.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko looks likely to be disappointed in his call for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to deploy naval vessels to the Sea of Azov, an offshoot of the Black Sea.

Ukraine's deputy defense minister, Anatoliy Petrenko, said the country is talking to its Western partners to respond to Russia's "escalatory actions".

Hryhoriy Seleshchuk of Caritas Ukraine told Catholic News Service a winter blockade of Ukraine's Azov Sea ports would have "really dramatic consequences".

Several Ukrainian naval personnel were injured in the incident and more than 20 continue to be held captive by Russian Federation.

Ukraine had stepped up security at critical infrastructure sites, including at nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, chemical factories and at ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, Poroshenko said.

The incident has driven tensions between Russian Federation and Ukraine to their highest point since Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Nov. 25, 2018. However, Russia claims that Ukraine was in fact trespassing into their own waters, although Ukraine disproved this argument with a map of the locations of each vessel. The martial law would affect the campaign, set to start in late December, amid Poroshenko's low approval rating, Putin said.

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