Poroshenko Wants NATO Ships to Defend Ukraine Against Russia

Larry Hoffman
December 1, 2018

Ukraine has banned Russian men aged 16 to 60 from entering the country, as the risk of military confrontation between the two neighbors reached its highest point in several years.

In an interview published earlier Thursday with the German daily Bild, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko laid out his hope that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would "relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security" against Putin's expansionist ambitions.

Ukraine imposed martial law in the country for 30 days earlier this week after Russian border guards opened fired on three Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea and seized the ships and their crews. Thus, both sides perceive the Strait as an important key structure.

Pavlo said, however, he will not recognize a new Ukrainian church.

Ukraine intends to request the closure of the Bosphorus strait for passage by Russian navy ships in connection with the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian military vessels in the Kerch Strait area, Ukraine's Naval Forces Commander Ihor Voronchenko has said. Russian soldiers were active in Crimea before the peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Russian Federation has recently begun inspecting all vessels sailing to or from Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, which began after Ukraine detained a fishing vessel from Crimea in March.

Russia's refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

It said President Poroshenko - whose approval ratings have plummeted - would then be the main beneficiary.

A view of the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait is closed for the passage of civil vessels after there was reportedly an altercation between Russian and Ukrainian ships, November 25, 2018.

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Sea of Azov

She also warns "Ukraine's Western protectors" that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's idea of introducing the law was "very risky".

"We would like to see a joint consolidated response from the free world", he said.

The showdown comes amid the long-simmering conflicts between the two countries, in which Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and supported separatists in Ukraine's east with clandestine dispatches of troops and weapons.

Ukrainian border guards say all non-Ukrainians will be barred from crossing into the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula by land after martial law went into effect.

For Russia will not, whether out of security concerns or ambition, stop tightening the noose the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait represent for Ukraine.

The EU has propped up Ukraine's war-scarred economy since the Crimea annexation while prodding the pro-Western authorities to pass reforms and tackle corruption.

When Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced the annex in 2014, Ukraine accused Russia of committing a war crime and the global community widely viewed the annexation as illegal.

Friday's announcement follows Thursday's decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to scrap the much-anticipated meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. In the meantime, a Crimean court ordered that 12 - half of the captured Ukrainian sailors - be detained for two months.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

But Ukraine and foreign observers said it marked the culmination of a yearslong effort by Moscow to force its authority on the Sea of Azov, the waters of which are shared between the two countries, according to a 2003 agreement.

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