Tough Security Measures Were Taken by Russia in Kerch Strait After Voiced Ukrainian Threats, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Says
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that tough security measures had been taken by Russia in Kerch Strait after voiced Ukrainian threats to target Crimean bridge.
Zakharova also said that Moscow regrets that UN Security Council voted against Russian agenda for meeting on Kerch Strait incident.
“Unfortunately, to our great regret, members of the [UN] Security Council … have not found courage to satisfy the Russian request to hold the Security Council meeting on the agenda, in other words, to consider what happened yesterday in the Russian territorial waters,” Zakharova told the Rossiya-1 broadcaster.
Putin, Merkel Discuss Kerch Strait Incident During Phone Conversation
Russian President Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have held phone talks at German initiative and discussed the Kerch Strait incident, Kremlin reported.
Kremlin also reported that a serious concern over Kiev's decision to introduce martial law and to put troops on combat alert were expressed during this phone conversation.
Trump Says Hopes Kerch Strait Incident ‘Will Get Straightened Out’
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he is unhappy with the Ukraine-Russia naval incident in the Kerch Strait, and is hopeful that the situation will be settled.
"We do not like what’s happening either way, and hopefully it will get straightened out," Trump said. "They are not thrilled, they are working on it. We are all working on it together."
On Sunday, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it intercepted three Ukrainian naval ships that illegally entered Russian territorial waters in violation of international law while moving from the Black Sea into the Azov Sea.
Ukrainian Lawmakers Vote to Approve Martial Law
Ukrainian Parliament has backed country's president Poroshenko's decree on martial law only in selected regions of country for 30 days after the Kerch Strait incident.
The parliament has also set presidential election in Ukraine for 31rd March, 2019.
Ukrainian Ships Submitted No Request for Passage Through Kerch Strait in Advance – FSB
"When a group of vessels of the Ukrainian Navy was approaching Russia's state border, [a patrol boat] informed them about the procedure for crossing Russia's state border and the rules of navigation on the Kerch-Yenikale canal, which stipulated filing an application to Kerch's maritime administration 48 hours and 24 hours in advance, and sending a confirmation 4 hours in advance, which was not done by the ships of the Ukrainian Navy," the statement reads.
"The commanders of the Ukrainian Navy responded that their group did not plan to cross the state border of the Russian Federation and did not plan to pass through the Kerch Strait," the FSB added.
US Senator Urges Trump to Boost Ukraine Security Aid Before Meeting Putin
"The Trump Administration must immediately increase security assistance to Ukraine, including the provision of lethal maritime equipment and weapons," Menendez said. "I urge President Trump to commit to these measures prior to his reportedly scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin later this week at the G20."
Menendez also said the United States should help Ukraine improve its maritime domain awareness and urge NATO to increase exercises and its presence in the Black Sea.
The US Congress should also pass the "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act" in the coming weeks to show Moscow that its military "aggression" and "political interference" abroad do not go unchecked, Menendez added.
Ukrainian Ships Entered Russia's Territorial Waters on Direct Orders From Kiev - FSB
Provocations carried out by the Ukrainian navy in the Kerch Strait area were coordinated by two officers from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) who were aboard the ships involved in the incident, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said Monday.
"The coordination of the provocation was carried out by two SBU officers, who were on board of Ukrainian ships" the FSB said a statement.
According to the statement, the Ukrainian warships entered the territorial waters of Russia on direct orders by the Kiev authorities.
Russia's FSB Publishes Timeline of Events Surrounding Ukrainian Provocation in Kerch Strait
Martial Law Introduction in Ukraine Threatens Security in Donbass - Russia's OSCE Envoy
"The imposition of martial law, in case of coming into force, creates a threat to security in Donbass. Kiev's course for escalating tensions is reaffirmed by the recent developments," Lukashevich said at the OSCE.
Kerch Strait Incident Aims at Escalating Tensions Between Russia, Ukraine, Finding New Ways to Impose anti-Russia Sanctions - Russian Envoy to OSCE
"The fact that this was a provocation is also evidenced by the records on the Internet of the negotiations of sailors ... All of this is aimed at artificially exacerbating the Russian-Ukrainian disagreements, creating new pretexts for unwinding the thesis on the need for new sanctions against Russia, " Lukashevich said at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
NATO Urges Russia to Release All Sailors, Ships Detained in Kerch Strait Incident
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia on Monday to release immediately all Ukrainian navy ships and sailors detained on Sunday in an attempt to enter the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
"There is no justification for the use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. So we call on Russia to release immediately the Ukrainian sailors and ships it ceased yesterday. And we call for calm and restraint," Stoltenberg said at a press point following a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission.
US Supports Ukraine Amid Kerch Strait Incident - Ambassador Haley
The United States voiced its support for Ukraine after the incident involving Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Kerch strait over the weekend, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council on Monday.
"I make the statement on behalf of the United States, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. We stand united in opposing Russia's attack," Haley said. "We strongly support Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders extending to its territorial waters. We express our deep concern over the incident which represents a dangerous escalation and violation of international law."