Following comments from the leader of the British army who claimed that Russia represents a greater security risk to the UK than ISIS, a British diplomat accused Russia of trying to cement its domination of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, by expanding its dominance to the Sea of Azov.
During a phone call with German leader Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concerns about Ukraine's decision to declare martial law in ten border regions, saying it could lead to "the threat of escalation" - which, ironically, is exactly what Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said to justify it.
As Ukraine deploys reservists to the border provinces affected by the order, opposition politicians have questioned why martial law is needed now, and not during the worst of the fighting in Eastern Ukraine during the insurgency that flared in 2014 and 2015. Still, Poroshenko's warnings of an imminent Russian invasion helped win support for the measure in the country's parliament.
"The imposition of martial law in various regions potentially could lead to the threat of an escalation of tension in the conflict region, in the southeast" of Ukraine, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, later told reporters.
Russia's decision to jail the sailors will likely inflame the diplomatic crisis that erupted following Sunday's confrontation. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Putin and Poroshenko should meet to resolve the dispute amicably. But given the developments over the past day, that doesn't look likely.
Though NATO has said it will back Ukraine no matter what, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged Russia and Ukraine to exercise "maximum restraint" to avoid further escalation. As fears of a hot war run high, the deeply unpopular Poroshenko is running to keep his seat in a March election that he is widely expected to lose. Will his stand against Russia be enough to revive his sagging popularity? Or will the Ukrainian leader need to resort to more drastic measures to convince the Ukrainian people to fall in line behind their leader during a period of crisis?