North Atlantic Treaty Organisation treads carefully in Ukraine-Russia sea spat

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation treads carefully in Ukraine-Russia sea spat

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation treads carefully in Ukraine-Russia sea spat

The naval confrontation between Russian Federation and Ukraine was one of the top issues on the agenda of foreign ministers and diplomats from 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members who are meeting in Brussels on December 4.

On Nov. 25, three Ukrainian ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov were seized by Russian forces for allegedly violating the Russian border.

Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russian Federation to use weapons.

Ahead of the two-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ministerial meeting in Brussels, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies are already doing a lot in the Black Sea and that now "we are closely monitoring the situation".

TRT World's Simon McGregor-Wood has more.

"We recall on Russian Federation to immediately release the ships and the sailors".

He also called on Germany and its allies to boost their naval presence in the Black Sea to deter futher Russian aggression.

"NATO Allies will also continue to help modernise and strengthen the Ukrainian armed forces". The measure, which affects the regions closest to Russia's military bases, was condemned by the Kremlin, which said the move would escalate the conflict. Similarly, other Black Sea littoral states-in particular, Romania-are closely watching Russia's military build-up around the Black Sea and its associated belligerent actions and are revising their strategic calculations accordingly.

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New details are coming to light, showing the location of Russia's recent deployment of advanced missile systems in Crimea.

"It is urgent that Russian Federation ensures full compliance in a transparent and verified way because the INF treaty is so important for our security", he added.

Some European allies suspect that Trump could give notice in coming months that the USA is leaving the treaty.

Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow with Russian Federation and Eurasia program at London's Chatham House think tank, said Poroshenko's move appeared to be "an attention-seeking reaction" that is likely to antagonize Moscow even further and play badly with the global community.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responded to the standoff by introducing martial law for 30 days, something Ukraine hadn't done even after Crimea's annexation and amid large-scale fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in 2014-2015.

Speaking at a Ukrainian military event, President Petro Poroshenko said Russian Federation has deployed "more than 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored combat vehicles, 500 aircraft and 300 helicopters" along their common border.

The Kremlin has called the naval incident a provocation meant to shore up Poroshenko's sagging popularity. The Kremlin has repeatedly claimed that upcoming elections in Ukraine are the reason behind the Ukrainian president's accusations, arguing that the leader wants to distract from his low polling numbers.

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