Ukraine’s President Urges NATO to Send Warships to Azov Sea to Fend Off Russia
Poroshenko has also appealed personally to German leader Angela Merkel reminding of her role in striking the Minsk II Agreement back in 2015.
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko asked NATO and Germany in particular to dispatch warships to the Sea of Azov in the wake of the seizure of three Ukrainian vessels there by Russia.
A total of 24 Ukrainian servicemen remain in Russian custody after Sunday’s incident at the Kerch Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula.
The clash led Ukraine to institute martial law in its regions bordering Russia and Moldova’s pro-Moscow breakaway region of Transnistria.
Ukraine and Russia have been involved in a “cold’ conflict since 2014, after Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in reaction to the Euromaidan Revolution in Kyiv, which ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and promised to bring Ukraine closer to the West.
A pro-Russian insurgency possibly aided by Moscow followed shortly in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine and has been raging ever since. Because of Crimea’s annexation and the war in Eastern Ukraine, the EU has introduced sanctions against Russia.
Several days after Russia’s FSB intelligence units captured the three Ukrainian vessels, Ukraine’s leader, on Thursday Poroshenko urged NATO to intervene to prop up the security of his country vis-à-vis Russia.
“Germany is one of our closest allies, and we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security,” he told Germany’s Bild daily.
“[Putin] wants nothing less than to occupy the [Azov] sea. The only language he understands is the unity of the Western world. We cannot accept this aggressive policy of Russia. First it was Crimea, then eastern Ukraine, now he wants the Sea of Azov,” Poroshenko elaborated.
“Germany, too, has to ask itself: What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?” he emphasized.
The Ukrainian leader appealed personally to German Chancellor Angela Merkel recalling her role so far in containing the war in Donbass.
“Chancellor (Angela) Merkel is a great friend of Ukraine. In 2015, she already saved our country through her negotiations in Minsk, and we hope she will once again support us so strongly, together with our other allies,” Poroshenko said.
“Putin wants to bring back the old Russian Empire. Crimea, Donbas, he wants the whole country,” he added.
“As a Russian emperor, as he sees himself, his empire cannot function without Ukraine, he sees us as a colony,” Ukraine’s President stated.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was due in Berlin on Thursday for a conference with Ukrainian officials hosted by German Chancellor Merkel.
On Wednesday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin argued that his country was right to capture the Ukrainian ships.
The day after the incident, on Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg demanded Russia free the Ukrainian ships and sailors, and warned Moscow that “its actions have consequences”.
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