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Russia-Ukraine Tension: Ukraine Urges NATO to Deploy Warships to the Sea of Azov

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Ukraine’s president is urging NATO to deploy warships to the Sea of Azov in a proposal that has been sharply criticized by Russia as a provocation that could worsen tensions between the two countries following a weekend confrontation in the waters off the Crimean Peninsula.

Relatively, US President Donald Trump said he was canceling a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Argentina because Moscow has not released the Ukrainian vessels and sailors it seized.

In an interview published with the German daily Bild, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko laid out his hope that NATO would “relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security” against Putin’s expansionist ambitions.

The Russian coast guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels and their crews Sunday.

Russia said the Ukrainian vessels had failed to obtain permission to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait.

Ukraine, for its part, insisted its vessels were operating in line with international maritime rules in the strait, which separates Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula that it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

NATO is not expected to send ships to the area, a deployment that could trigger a confrontation with Russia. A 2003 treaty between Russia and Ukraine stipulates that permission from both countries is required for warships from anywhere else to enter the internal sea.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the alliance has a strong presence in the region, and that NATO ships routinely patrol and conduct exercises in the Black Sea, especially those from Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, which border the sea.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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