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Russian Federation warns of escalation in Crimea over martial law in Ukraine

Russian Federation warns of escalation in Crimea over martial law in Ukraine

Russia's state-run channel Rossiya 24 showed images of several of the sailors during interrogations by Moscow's security services.

One of them parroted the version of events put forward by Russian authorities, saying, "The actions of the Ukrainian armed vessels in the Kerch Strait had a provocative character".

The confrontation has prompted Ukraine's parliament on Monday to approve a motion from its president, Petro Poroshenko, to impose martial law in some regions for 30 days.

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in long-simmering conflict since the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea by Russia in 2014, and a war with Russian-backed separatists in the country's east has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

The tugboat was escorting two Ukrainian naval vessels from Odessa on the Black Sea to the port city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait when the incident occurred.

Hundreds of protesters from the National Corps party waved flares in the snowy streets of Kiev outside parliament and accused the president of using martial law to his own ends. "But with an attack on Ukrainian military boats it moved to a new stage of aggression", Poroshenko said. "We expect from our German partners that navy ships of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation be sent to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as soon as possible in order to prevent such acts of war from Moscow", he told the Bild newspaper. The decision is meant to put troops at a higher state of combat readiness for 30 days in areas where Ukraine shares a border with Russian Federation.

Ukraine also received a boost from the global reaction, underscoring both the isolation of Russian Federation from the West over the Ukraine conflict, and the desire to protect the worldwide maritime convention that allows for unimpeded shipping through any strait.

While other US officials took a strong stand behind Ukraine, President Donald Trump seemed more equivocal.

The Kremlin reacted strongly to Ukraine's declaration of martial law, with Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, telling reporters Tuesday that it might trigger a flare-up in hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

Copa Libertadores cup final called off
On Saturday, Boca said they were in no position to play the game due to the injured parties needing medical treatment at hospital. Three years ago, a match between Boca and River was abandoned at half time after fans attacked River players with pepper spray.

His Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov blamed Kiev for what he described as a "provocation", adding: "Ukraine had undoubtedly hoped to get additional benefits from the situation, expecting the United States and Europe to blindly take the provocateurs' side".

"I know these sailors, they were always professional".

Russia's ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, poses further threats to Ukraine's independence.

A Russian ship is reported to have opened fire on a Ukrainian vessel, while another was caught on video ramming a Ukrainian tug boat off the Crimean coast Sunday. One was rammed on Sunday by an FSB vessel.

Russian lawmaker Frants Klintsevich, who sits on the defence committee in the upper house of parliament, said on November 16 that Russia could "cut off" the Sea of Azov "in minutes" in response to the detention of Russian ships.

Accusing Ukraine of provoking the crisis, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "There is no doubt that it was done by blessing or, perhaps, even a direct order from the top". A newly built Russian bridge opened by Putin himself now spans the strait, which Moscow hopes will solidify its claim to adjoining Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula it forcibly annexed in 2014.

"Hence, there are no Russian borders in the area where the incident happened".

NATO Allies and Ukraine discussed the serious situation in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.


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