Ukraine refuses entry to Russian men as fear of invasion grows

Dec 01, 2018, 01:52
Ukraine refuses entry to Russian men as fear of invasion grows

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the ban on Russian men aged 16-60 was created to stop a full-scale invasion.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members including Germany Thursday to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back his country in the standoff with Russian Federation.

Russian coast guard ships on Sunday fired on and seized the Ukrainian vessels as they headed toward a contested strait close to Crimea, taking prisoner 24 Ukrainian sailors and triggering an worldwide crisis.

Russian state-run media said Friday Moscow isn't planning a counter-ban for Ukrainian men of military age.

Kiev has demanded the return of its ships and the release of 24 sailors taken prisoner during the confrontation.

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Russia, meanwhile, insisted the Ukrainian vessels were in its territorial waters and refused to communicate with the Russian coast guard, or accept a Russian pilot to guide them through the narrow strait.

This includes a potential Russian stranglehold over the port of Mariupol, from which flows steel and iron constituting 40 percent of Ukraine's annual export revenue and a large portion of its grain exports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the whole affair had been prepared by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in an attempt to boost his ratings for the upcoming presidential elections.

"As far as Ukraine is concerned - not the state itself, but mostly Pyotr Poroshenko, who is now ruling the country - it is just horrifying to talk about tit-for-tat responses", Zakharova said.

"And not allow them to carry out the operations that they tried to conduct in 2014", he added. 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. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) A detained crew member (L) of one of Ukrainian naval ships, which were recently seized by Russia's FSB security service, walks out of a vehicle before a court hearing in Simferopol, Crimea November 28, 2018.

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Tensions between Russian Federation and Ukraine hit a new low on November 25 after Ukrainian Navy gunboats violated Russia's territorial waters and proceeded to engage in unsafe maneuvers in and around the Kerch Strait.

Petro Tsygykal, Ukraine's chief of Border Guard Service, told a security meeting that all Russian males between 16 and 60 will be barred from travelling to Ukraine for the duration of martial law, which Ukraine's parliament voted to introduce on Monday for 30 days in some regions.

For a long time, the slogan "we can repeat" - a reference to the Soviet Union's WWII victory - was popular in Russian Federation.

Ukrainian leaders accuse the Moscow-backed church, widely known as the Moscow Patriarchate, of promoting the Kremlin's interests and spreading propaganda as relations between the countries plummet. Ukrainian authorities sought to portray the Russian Orthodox clerics in Ukraine as supporting separatists.

"I recognise that the actions of the ships with military hardware of Ukraine's navy had a provocative character", said one Ukranian sailor, Vladimir Lisov. "As for the citizens of Ukraine, there are no restrictions", Tsigikal said.

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There are rumblings that Ukraine will call for the closure of the Bosphorus Strait to Russian Navy traffic as a result of Moscow's recent acts, which would cut off the Black Sea Fleet from the Mediterranean.