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Ukraine: Russia Allowing Some Ships Into Azov Sea Ports

Ukraine: Russia Allowing Some Ships Into Azov Sea Ports

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has reiterated its call on Russian Federation to release Ukrainian sailors and the ships they seized, the bloc's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of blocking merchant vessels from entering and leaving Azov Sea ports. "Vessels make their way to the entrance and exit through the Kerch strait towards Ukrainian ports. the movement is partially restored", the ministry quoted Omelyan as saying. They probably wanted to ensure the safe and unhindered passage of Ukrainian shipping through global waters - much the same as any other country would do with its navy.

KIEV (Reuters) - Russia has been ramping up its forces near the border with Ukraine since August and now poses the greatest military threat since 2014, the year Moscow annexed Crimea, the commander of Ukraine's armed forces told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Recently captured Ukrainian sailors have been sent to Moscow to face charges of illegal border crossing.

U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly canceled a planned meeting with his Russian counterpart Friday on the sidelines of the G20 summit, citing ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

In the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, Ukrainian border guard spokesman Artem Polyakov said tensions in the area were boiling.

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What does Russian move mean?

Russia's military build-up in the region over the past five years undermines the sovereign rights and interests of all Black Sea littoral states, because it is created to empower Moscow with the capability to assert monopoly control over the region, including to deny freedom of movement at sea and in the air. Ukraine's Interior Minister on Sunday told residents in the eastern city of Slaviansk to stay indoors, in anticipation of clashes between pro-Russian militants who have seized official buildings and Ukrainian security forces.

Time is money for shipping companies, and an extra day at sea can cost up to $15,000 (£11,600; €13,150).

The BBC's Jonah Fisher notes what one Ukrainian official calls a "quiet blockade" of Ukraine's Azov ports.

The country's third most senior politician said the crews acted "faultlessly and courageously" to thwart what he described as a violation of Russia's maritime borer in the Black Sea. However, the development came as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss the latest flare-up.

In a message marking the anniversary of their country's December 1991 referendum on independence from the Soviet Union, Ukrainian Catholic bishops said Ukrainians had a "right and sacred duty" to defend themselves against "Russian aggression", but should also avoid yielding to alarm and panic.


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