Published: Wed, November 28, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

European Politicians Call for New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine

European Politicians Call for New Sanctions on Russia Over Ukraine

Russian officials declared on Monday that Ukranian ships ignored warning shots on the Black Sea forcing Russian vessels to open fire and seize three Ukrainian navy ships.

President Poroshenko's office described the Russian action against the Ukrainian navy ships as "an act of aggression aimed at deliberately escalating the situation in the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait", and called for worldwide condemnation of Moscow and the imposition of new sanctions.

There was "no justification for the use of military force" by Russian Federation against the Ukrainian ships, Stoltenberg said, and he called on Russian Federation to immediately release the ships and sailors. It was not clear whether the sailors' confessions, given in the custody of Russia's security services, were made under duress.

At one point, one of the sailors is heard saying that "the actions of the Ukrainian armed vessels in the Kerch Strait had a provocatory character" - parroting the version of events put forward by Russian authorities.

The incident occurred as the ships were sailing through the Kerch Strait, located off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 but is not yet widely recognized as Russian territory.

In a statement published on November 26, Russia's Foreign Ministry called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Ukraine's "flagrant violation" of the rules of innocent passage in Russia's territorial sea.

Moscow insisted Kiev was to blame, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying: "The Russian side acted strictly within both domestic and worldwide law".

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in an earlier statement Russia's actions were a violation of the UN Charter and global law, and pledged to "promptly inform our partners about Russia's aggressive actions".

The three men are among 23 detained by Russian forces Sunday.

We also remain concerned about the welfare of the Ukrainian sailors.

Facebook and Instagram down - social media sites crash globally
Outages were reported on Tuesday afternoon in Britain and continental Europe, and on Tuesday morning in North America. Problems ranged from access to the site, issues with using Messenger, slow page loading and the inability to post.

The recent incident marks a significant escalation in tensions, which began rising with Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Russia is disputing the jurisdiction of The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Russia-Ukraine dispute over rights to oil and natural gas resources off Crimea.

US President Donald Trump suggested it was up to European governments to handle the crisis.

Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone in the early hours on Tuesday, and the Russian president expressed a "serious concern" about what the martial law in Ukraine might entail.

"We do not like what's happening, either way, we don't like what's happening and hopefully it will get straightened out", he said on Monday, days ahead of another meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina. "They're not thrilled. We're all working on it together", he said.

"The crisis in the Sea of Azov has been building for a long time and has not received enough worldwide attention", he told DW in an email.

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

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".

The navy ship Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tug boat Yana Kapu were heading from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov, Ukraine has said.

He said, "the number of units that have been deployed along our border -- what's more, along its full length -- has grown dramatically".

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