Ukraine to introduce martial law as fears grow of possible ground invasion by Russia




 

Ukraine's president on Monday imposed martial law after Russia fired on and captured three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait near Crimea.

The country's parliament approved his request to grant him emergency war time powers in the areas considered most vulnerable to invasion, including the ability to requisition private property and suspend elections for 30 days beginning on Wednesday. He had earlier asked for 60 days across the whole of Ukraine.

In a televised address to the nation, he said the move was necessary to defend Ukraine from a possible Russian ground invasion and promised that a presidential election scheduled for March would go ahead as planned.

The move is controversial - martial law has never been imposed before, even during the height of the war in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Three former presidents of the country issued a statement opposing the move on Monday.

Russia meanwhile defied calls from Western countries to release the Ukrainian vessels and 24 crew members seized in the Black Sea on Sunday.

Two modern gunboats, the Nikol and the Berdyansk, and a tug boat, the Yana Kapu, were rammed, fired on, and ultimately boarded by Russian special forces after they attempted to sail through the Strait of Kerch on Sunday.

The vessels were en route from Odessa to Mariupol, a Ukrainian industrial and military port on the Azov Sea. Russia temporarily blocked the passage under the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia and Crimea, to prevent their passage.

Russia said the Ukrainian vessels had not informed the border control of their plans and that coast guards opened fire after warning to stop "dangerous" maneuvering in closed waters around Crimea.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. The FSB, Russia's internal security service, said a criminal case had been opened.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by the crew members and described Moscow's actions as military aggression.

Tensions in the Sea of Azov have been mounting since Russia completed the bridge between its mainland and Crimea earlier this year.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said the incident that the Ukrainian ships illegally entered Russian waters and called it "a dangerous provocation" organized by Kiev.

Theresa May said in statement that the incident was "further evidence of Russia's destabilising behaviour in the region and its ongoing violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity."

US President Donald Trump said he did not like what was happening between Russia and Ukraine and was working with European leaders on the situation.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, called Russia's seizure of the Ukrainian vessels "a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law" and called for restraint from both countries.

"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Mr Pompeo said in a statement.

The State Department said Mr Pompeo spoke by phone with Mr Poroshenko and reiterated strong US support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian "aggression".

Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, spoke with Mr Poroshenko by telephone. Her office said the chancellor emphasized the need for de-escalation and dialogue and said she would work to help bring both about.

At an emergency mission of the United Nations Security Council, Nikki Hayley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called Russia's behaviour "arrogant" and a "violation" of international law, adding: "The United States will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine against Russian aggression."

In Kiev, scores of protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy setting tires on fire and throwing smoke grenades. A crowd of nationalist protesters also gathered outside the Russian consulate in Kharkiv.

The whereabouts of the 24 Ukrainian crewmen was unknown on Monday evening.

The FSB released images of the Ukrainian vessels docked in the Crimean port of Kerch on Monday morning. Sergei Aksyonov, the head of Russian-annexed Crimea, said in a Facebook post that three crew members who had been injured were provided with medical care and their lives were not in danger.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Ukraine seeks more EU aid for south, east regions as elections near
Ukraine seeks more EU aid for south, east regions as elections near

EU foreign ministers were discussing increasing support for Ukraine, which holds a presidential election next month in tough conditions. Russia annexed its Crimea peninsula in 2014 and backs armed separatists in its eastern industrial Donbas region. The EU's top diplomat also confirmed the bloc would put more Russians under sanctions over Moscow's standoff with Kiev in the Azov Sea, to the southeast of Ukraine.

McCabe and 60 Minutes Avoid Discussing Why Russia Factored in Comey
McCabe and 60 Minutes Avoid Discussing Why Russia Factored in Comey's Firing

Andrew McCabe is a good witness and he made a favorable impression, at least on me, in his 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley. Pelley and his editors did a great job highlighting McCabe's down-to-earth likability. Unlike Jim Comey, a career prosecutor and corporate lawyer before he became FBI director, former deputy director McCabe is a career agent; his relation of events smacks of the Bureau's "just the facts, ma'am" ethos. And McCabe's account of Trump telling him to ask his wife what it was like to be a "loser" (after she lost a Virginia state senate race) is devastating, precisely because it sounds just like something Trump would say.That aside, there are problems with McCabe's...

U.S. sanctions delay Russian passenger jet by a year:  Rostec CEO
U.S. sanctions delay Russian passenger jet by a year: Rostec CEO

Serial production of Russia's first post-Soviet mainline commercial aircraft will be delayed by a year due to U.S. sanctions, the head of state-owned industrial conglomerate Rostec said on Monday, Russian news agencies reported. Russia hopes the MS-21, a twin-engine, medium-range passenger plane, will give Boeing and Airbus a run for their money. Three prototypes have been built and Rostec said on Monday the plane had been set to enter serial production at the end of this year.

Ex-FBI official:
Ex-FBI official: 'Crime may have been committed' by Trump

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia. McCabe also said in the interview

Trump Wanted Russia in Memo Firing Comey, Former FBI Leader Says
Trump Wanted Russia in Memo Firing Comey, Former FBI Leader Says

McCabe said in a pre-recorded interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" broadcast on Sunday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein didn't want to include a reference to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in the memo he wrote citing reasons why Comey should be fired, but that Trump insisted. Rosenstein "explained to the president that he did not need Russia in his memo.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.