(National Sentinel) War Drums: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered his military to be placed on full alert while he sought authority to declare martial law following a clash in the Sea of Azov with Russian warships.
RT reports that Kiev’s decision to place the Ukrainian military on its highest alert level came after the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) approved Poroshenko’s previous request to invoke martial law for 60 days.
It must now be approved by the Verkhovna Rada, or the Ukrainian Parliament, which will vote on the measure Monday.
“Based on the NSDC decision to impose martial law, the head of the General Staff – the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – has ordered to put all units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on full combat alert,” said a statement released by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
On Sunday, Russia opened fire and seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels – two artillery boats and a tugboat, RT reports. Moscow said “that these were breaching the Russian maritime border and trying to pass through the Kerch Strait, a narrow waterway between mainland Russia and Crimea, which connects Ukrainian ports in the Black and the Azov seas,” the report noted.
Russia positioned a massive cargo ship underneath the bridge to block passage through the Kerch Strait. The passage is the only way into the Sea of Azov from Odessa on the Black Sea.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russia’s actions “have transgressed all boundaries and become aggressive … [and] demand clear reaction of international community.”
“We consider such aggressive actions as a violation of the norms of the UN Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the statement continued. “Ukraine will take all appropriate measures to ensure diplomatic and legal response.”
The European Union noted in a statement: “We expect Russia to restore freedom of passage at the Kerch Strait and urge all to act with utmost restraint to de-escalate the situation immediately.” It added that the “EU does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia.”
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