Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Ukraine calls up reservists amid tensions with Russia

Ukraine calls up reservists amid tensions with Russia

A spokesman for Putin said the Russian leader briefed Merkel at length about the situation, and Merkel told him she wanted to help resolve it.

Vitaliy Sinhur, a dock worker in Berdyansk, said the movement of ships has significantly ebbed.

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

Relations between the two neighbours have strained further following the November 25 incident in which Russian Federation fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews.

Ukraine's deputy defense minister, Anatoliy Petrenko, said the country is talking to its Western partners to respond to Russia's "escalatory actions".

Merkel said Germany had suggested - and Russian Federation agreed - that discussions about the dispute should continue at the advisor level in the four-way Normandy format that has sought to ease tensions between Ukraine and Russian Federation.

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Russian Federation must release the Ukrainian sailors and ships, Stoltenberg said. "It must also allow freedom of navigation and unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov".

Germany and France have been trying to mediate the dispute.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation foreign ministers are set to discuss the incident later this week.

More than 9,500 Ukrainian armed forces personnel have been trained by British troops since the start of 2015.

After many tense hours of maneuvering, the Russians opened fire and seized the Ukrainian vessels and 24 crew members.

Trump on Thursday announced on Twitter that "it would be best for all parties concerned" if he and Putin did not meet as planned because Ukrainian ships and sailors recently seized in the Sea of Azov had not been released by Russian Federation.

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The naval clash came as the Ukrainian ships sailed to the Kerch Strait, the only waterway leading into the Sea of Azov and the site of a new key Russian bridge linking occupied Crimea with the Russian mainland.

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, and military analysts say that Russia is providing support for pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian military in the eastern part of the country known as the Donbas.

Senior officials from the four countries gathered in Berlin on November 26 for a meeting planned before the Ukrainian ships were seized.

Later this week, the Ukrainian parliament is expected to mull a presidential bill blocking the extension of a friendship treaty after it expires next April, a long-anticipated symbolic move.

Though the substance of Trump's conversation with Putin on Friday was not detailed by the White House, Putin said that it had to do with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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