Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ukraine calls up reservists amid tensions with Russia

Ukraine calls up reservists amid tensions with Russia

Stoltenberg repeated a call for Russian Federation to release the sailors and ships and allow unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

Merkel said "free shipping into the Sea of Azov to the Ukrainian coast and harbors must be ensured".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said after Poroshenko first made his call for a stronger Western naval force in the Black Sea that "there is already a lot of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [vessels] in the Black Sea and we will continue to assess our presence in the region", the AP quoted her as saying.

As part of the 30-day martial law, all Russian males aged 16 to 60 have been barred from entering Ukraine, a move which Mr Poroshenko said was needed to prevent Russia further destabilising his country.

"We need to stop Nord Stream 2", he said, of the project that would eliminate the need to ship Russian gas through Ukraine to Western Europe.

He also said that Russian Federation had deployed a large number of troops along its border with Ukraine, a charge he previously made days ago, and alleged that Russian Federation intends to extend its control within Ukraine.

Foreign ministers from the 29 allies will meet Ukraine's foreign minister on Tuesday to discuss last week's incident in the Sea of Azov, in which the Russian navy seized three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

Ukraine's deputy defense minister, Anatoliy Petrenko, said the country is talking to its Western partners to respond to Russia's "escalatory actions". "The ship's logs of the detained Ukrainian ships contain the task to penetrate the territorial waters of Russian Federation, and this is confirmed by the sailors' testimony".

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"There is no justification for this use of force", Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Monday.

"Ukrainian vessels, military as well as civilian, have the right to navigate through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov", he said.

Trump canceled a planned two-hour sitdown with Putin at G-20, and called for Russian Federation to return the ships and sailors.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Jens Stoltenberg on Monday demanded Russian Federation end its naval standoff with Ukraine, but refused to pledge new support for Kiev, as the alliance sought to avoid escalating the crisis.

The Ukrainian seamen have been put in custody for two months pending Russia's investigation into the clash.

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, and military analysts say that Russia is providing support for pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian military in the eastern part of the country known as the Donbas.

Putin and Trump had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said.

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