Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ukraine launches drill near Russia's border

Ukraine launches drill near Russia's border

The USS "McCampbell sailed in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay to challenge Russia's excessive maritime claims and uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by the United States and other Nations", US Navy Lt. Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the US Pacific Fleet, told CNN in a statement.

Russian Federation rammed and fired on Ukrainian naval vessels, subsequently capturing three ships and detaining 24 service members.

Russian Federation had seized three Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea last Sunday after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors.

But Russia, which annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, charged that the Ukrainian boats entered its territorial waters without permission. Ukraine imposed martial law for 30 days in several regions around the country in response, and has barred entry to male Russian nationals aged 16 to 60 for the duration of the state of emergency.

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Russian Federation is still stopping vessels to inspect them, he said Tuesday in a statement on the ministry's website. The speaker, in particular, encouraged the United States to take decisive action, namely the full implementation of existing and introduction of new sanctions against Russian Federation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that there were "no restrictions" on vessels traveling through the Kerch Strait. The ministry also said that "the passage of ships with agricultural products through ports on the Sea of Azov have been unblocked". Azov Sea ports have seen their cargo turnover drop by about half in recent years because of additional lengthy inspections and restrictions stemming from the new bridge, it said.

After Ukrainian prosecutors pressed charges against Russian coast guards over their aggression at sea, border guard commanders in the occupied Crimea suggested that the FSB HQ in Moscow spin disinformation about the cause of the injuries sustained by Ukrainian sailors, Ukrainian MP Dmytro Tymchuk, who is the IR group's coordinator, wrote on Facebook Tuesday.

Under a 2003 treaty, Russian Federation and Ukraine agreed to share access to the Sea of Azov. Small ships carry between 5,000 and 6,000 tons of grain from Mariupol and Berdyansk to Turkey and the European Union.

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