Citing Russia threat, Ukraine boosts security at ports, power plants

Larry Hoffman
December 5, 2018

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

Just over a week ago, Russian Federation blocked three Ukranian naval ships from passing from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, which both countries technically share under a 2003 treaty.

Before the clash in the Black Sea, the government in Kiev had accused Russian Federation of stopping cargo ships going to and from the two ports, which are in the Sea of Azov, shared by both states. "These territorial waters were always ours, even before Crimea joined Russian Federation". "The country is under the threat of a full-scale war with the Russian Federation".

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been tense in recent years after Russian-backed separatists annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. But Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its later decision to underwrite a proxy war in eastern Ukraine killed off prospects for enduring collaboration between Moscow and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Omelyan, who accused Russian Federation last week of blocking Ukrainian cargo trying to pass through the strait, said the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol were partially unblocked thanks to a "stern worldwide response". 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.

Ukraine's president has called-up army reservists to strengthen its defences over fears of a Russian invasion. "The Russians behaved in a way that is deeply inconsistent with global law".

However, Russia challenged the country's usage of martial law over a "border incident".

Russian politicians have also said they believe the military phase of the confrontation is over. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in turn, said that she wanted to contribute to the settlement of the Kerch Strait dispute. He didn't address Ukraine's accusations of a Russian military buildup. Although Ukraine is not a member of the worldwide military alliance, it is a partner.

Marcos Brindicci / Reuters President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin are seen during the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday.

A statement Tuesday attributed to Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said the Berdyansk and Mariupol ports have been partially unblocked, adding that ships are coming and going through the Kerch Strait towards Ukrainian ports.

At the time that this article was written, the G20 had not yet started.

Under the terms of the 2003 treaty, the legal status of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait is (or purports to be) a purely bilateral arrangement between Russian Federation and Ukraine.

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