Putin defends 'lawful' seizure of Ukrainian ships

Putin defends 'lawful' seizure of Ukrainian ships

Putin defends 'lawful' seizure of Ukrainian ships

Commenting on a recent clash between Ukrainian and Russian forces in the Sea of Azov and Keiv's reaction of imposing martial law, Putin said the "provocation" was a deliberate attempt to postpone presidential election in Ukraine on March 31, 2019.

It is the first time that Putin has commented on the incident near Russia-occupied Crimea on Sunday that raised the spectre of a full-blown conflict between the two neighbours. The US president said on Tuesday he might cancel the meeting a a result of the incident, but the Kremlin said on Wednesday it thought the talks would proceed as planned.

Putin on Wednesday broke his silence on the maritime clash, blaming it on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's desire to get re-elected.

On Nov. 25, Russian Federation seized two Ukrainian navy ships and a navy tugboat along with 23 crew members off Crimea, accusing Kiev of entering its waters and provoking a conflict.

The strait is the only route for ships traveling between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, where Ukraine has several ports.

Russian military officials said Wednesday that Moscow would soon deploy more of its advanced S-400 air defence systems in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

All of the sailors face jail terms of up to six years if found guilty of what Moscow says was a plot to illegally cross the Russian border by trying to pass through the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait on Sunday without notice and ignoring calls to stop.

Trump threatens to cancel Putin meeting amid Russia-Ukraine tensions
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., November 26, 2018. USA crude was up 0.1 per cent at US$51.68 a barrel, while Brent futures rose 0.2 per cent to US$60.60.

The meeting between President Trump and Putin is set to be just one of several high-profile foreign-policy engagements for the USA leader on the whirlwind two-day visit to Argentina to attend this year's summit of the world's 20 biggest economies.

"Maybe I won't have the meeting", Trump said after the act of aggression, according to The Washington Post. That will be very determinative.

"We repeated a categorical demand to the Russian side to immediately release the captured citizens of Ukraine from custody and ensure their safe return to their homeland", the statement said.

"Maybe I won't have the meeting", he said.

Ukraine has imposed martial law in response to the armed confrontation, which it says is another in a string of acts of aggression.

On November 27, Russian courts in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Kerch ordered 15 of the Ukrainians - including at least three of the wounded - to be held in custody for two months pending possible trial.

Poroshenko said it was necessary because of intelligence about "a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine". He said the Ukrainian vessels had clearly been in the wrong.

Related news



[an error occurred while processing the directive]