World Tensions Rise In Sea Between Ukraine And Russia

22:51  06 june  2018
22:51  06 june  2018 Source:   newsweek.com

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As tension built on Saturday, demonstrations occasionally turned violent in eastern cities, where most people, though ethnically Ukrainian , are Russian Ukraine 's crisis began in November when Yanukovich, at Moscow's behest, abandoned a free trade pact with the EU for closer ties with Russia .

Ukraine ’s navy is in a state of heightened alert in the Sea of Azov, a body of water shared by the Eastern European nation and Russia . “The security service said: ‘Watch closely, the Russians are preparing countermeasures.

a plane flying by an old airplane © Provided by IBT Media Ukraine’s navy is in a state of heightened alert in the Sea of Azov, a body of water shared by the Eastern European nation and Russia.

“The security service said: ‘Watch closely, the Russians are preparing countermeasures. They are planning seizures and hijackings of Ukrainian ships,’” a Ukrainian shipowner told Radio Free Europe in a video published on Wednesday.

While such an incident has yet to occur, Ukraine ’s military has noticed an increasing number of Russian ships building up in the sea since late May.

"One can see a growing number of Russian ships, it is significant. Yesterday we saw four ships of the Russian coast guard," Deputy Commander of the Ukrainian Marine Guard Corps Mykola Levytsky said on May 20, Ukranian information agency UNIAN reported.

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As Crimea is the historic base of Russia ’s Black Sea fleet, it has always had a large deployment of the country’s military. A NATO official told the AFP news agency that the US-led military alliance was carefully following the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine , declaring that “ Russia ’s recent

David M. Herszenhorn reported from Kiev, and Sabrina Tavernise from Luhansk, Ukraine . Michael R. Gordon contributed reporting from Vienna, and Peter Baker from Washington. A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Border Tensions Rise

Throughout May, Russian coast guard ships have also increased their efforts to stop and check merchant ships bound for the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. According to Radio Free Europe, only four checks were conducted in April, whereas there were more than 30 in May.

In late March, Kiev angered Moscow after it detained a Russian-flagged fishing ship at sea. The vessel was registered in the disputed territory of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. Ukrainian authorities detained 10 crew members and accused them of illegally crossing its maritime border.

Russia responded to the move by comparing Ukraine’s actions to those of “Somali pirates,” and threatened to deploy a stronger military presence in the sea. Since then, Kiev has feared a more serious confrontation.

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Russia accuses Ukrainian border guards of acting like "Somali pirates" for detaining Russian fishing vessel, while Ukraine says Russia 's harassing merchant ships heading for Ukrainian ports.

“We only observed the movement of some [Russian] patrol boats, but even this causes tension,” a Ukrainian naval officer told Radio Free Europe. He explained that if Russia were to escalate the situation, it would be difficult for the Ukrainian navy. “Our fleet needs modernization,” he said.

a group of people on a beach © Provided by IBT Media

The Sea of Azov is technically shared by Russia and Ukraine under a 2003 international agreement, which does not specify any clear border.

“Negotiations on the issue between Ukraine and Russia have dragged for many years, but the parties have never reached any common solution,” Mykhailo Samus,  deputy director for international affairs at the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies in Ukraine, wrote for UNIAN. “Russia has created a situation where international law cannot be applied in the Azov water area. At the same time, there is no clearly defined border between Ukraine and Russia, in accordance with the bilateral agreement.”

The warring nations remain in a tense situation, unable to clearly argue which country violates sovereignty.

“In view of the Crimea annexation, Russia now proceeds from the fact that the Sea of Azov is no longer just an inland sea of Ukraine and Russia,” Samus explained. "Before the annexation of Crimea, Russia's share in the Azov Sea was rather small … Now, of course, Russia believes that if Crimea is Russian … much of the Azov Sea is now Russian.”

Russia vows consequences after Norway invites more U.S. Marines .
Russia vowed to retaliate for a plan by Norway to more than double the number of U.S. Marines stationed there. Oslo announced on Tuesday that it would ask the United States, its NATO ally, to send 700 Marines to train in Norway from 2019, against 330 at present, and said the additional troops would be based closer to the Russian border."This makes Norway less predictable and could cause growing tensions, triggering an arms race and destabilising the situation in northern Europe," the Russian Embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page."We see it as clearly unfriendly, and it will not remain free of consequence.

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