After it had fired at and captured three Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch strait which separates Crimea from the mainland of Russia, the Foreign Ministry of Russia trained its sights on Kiev, the United States, and the European Union.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Kiev of colluding with the U.S and the E.U and implied that the confrontation at the sea was “planned” for the purpose of having more U.N sanctions levied on Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko has asked parliament to approve his request of declaring martial law for defensive reasons.
The U.N Security Council has scheduled a meeting to discuss the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine including the proposed action to request Moscow to release the vessels and the crew, most of whom were injured.
Russia through its Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, maintained that the country acted strictly within the provisions of domestic and international law. Peskov added that Moscow has a filed a criminal case for Ukraine’s violation of Russia’s borders.
Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, issued an appeal that the captured crew men should be treated as prisoners of war:
“These were planned acts of aggression. We will demand at the Security Council for the immediate release of our sailors and the liberation of our ships.
According to Kiev, the two vessels that were captured were small Ukrainian artillery ships and a tugboat. The ships were headed to the Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov. Ukraine maintains that the ships were strictly observing international maritime rules.
Moscow reported the country was not informed of the passage. It had warned the vessels not to pass and was ignored.
In view of the events, Poroshenko signed a bill for the imposition of Martial Law for 60 days. Parliament has yet to vote on Poroshenko’s bill.
According to Poroshenko, Martial Law is needed to tighten up air defences, mobilize the military forces, and to impose anti-terrorism measures.
However, general elections are scheduled in Ukraine in 4 months. It is an election where many believe Poroshenko will lose. Critics of Poroshenko share the opinion that he is merely exploiting the situation so he can cancel the elections and hold on to power.