Ukraine restricts entry for Russian men age 16 to 60

Geneva Stokes
December 1, 2018

Russian news agencies on Thursday quoted Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, as saying that the Kremlin only learnt about the cancellation from Trump's tweet.

Merkel said she would raise the Black Sea issue with Putin at a G20 summit which starts in Argentina on Friday. Moscow, on the other hand, rather like China in the South China Sea, appears determined to turn the Sea of Azov into a strategic internal rampart, and the Kerch Strait-with a new $7.5 billion bridge over it-constitutes the linchpin of this plan.

Putin insisted that Russia's military response was appropriate as the Ukrainians had "trespassed" into Russia's territorial waters.

A Crimea court earlier this week ruled to keep the Ukrainian seamen behind bars for two months pending the investigation. Russian Federation has attempted to exert greater control over the area since annexing Crimea - including opening a bridge linking Russian Federation to the Ukrainian peninsula earlier this year.

Ukraine said on Monday that it will not allow Russian men aged 16-60 into the country under martial law, except under "humanitarian" cases. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said Ukraine was trying to get consular access to them.

But he says the Russians don't come to this area of the Azov. He says "it's a miracle the Ukrainian seamen have survived". The Berdyansk gunboat was hit multiple times by heavy machinegun fire and apparently by armor-piercing rockets fired from a Ka-52 helicopter gunship and an Su-30 jet.

Ten Russian vessels chase the Ukrainian boats into global waters.

The Ukrainian Navy claimed that it had informed Russian Federation in advance and called Russia's actions an "act of aggression".

Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko, who claimed to possess evidence of preparations for a major Russian ground offensive into Ukraine, announced that extra border restrictions would be imposed. He did not elaborate.

Zakharova concluded that martial law "endangers predominantly Russian-speaking regions, where most people never supported the current authorities, as opinion polls show". Ukrainians are seen in Moscow as proxies doing the bidding of their Western masters and "sponsors". That Moscow really seeks to control not just naval traffic in and out of the Sea of Azov, but also the sea itself.

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She noted that Germany could control how much fuel was pumped through the pipeline. "Something like this", Zakharova said, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russian Federation.

"So there is already a lot of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the Black Sea, and we will continue to assess our presence in the region". The Russians then captured the ships and 24 crew members.

Ukraine insists it gave advance warning of the route - the only access to the Sea of Azov - and its "right of passage" is guaranteed by a 2003 agreement with Russian Federation.

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko? The Kremlin said Poroshenko's request looked created to cause more tensions in the area.

The Turkish leader said: "Can we assume a mediator role?"

Yet, both sides could gain from this.

In light of the escalation, U.S. President Donald Trump called off a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin, with whom he had been scheduled to hold talks on Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used.

"We need a strong, resolute and clear reaction to Russia's aggressive behaviour", Poroshenko told Funke.

The incident, which took place in the Kerch Strait that separates the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea, caused several injuries among the 24 Ukrainian sailors taken prisoner.

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