Sunday, 19 May 2019

W Weekly Update

November 24 - December 1

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Heats Up the Sea of Azov

Reuters informs that tensions between Ukraine and Russia dramatically escalated on November 25 with Kyiv saying a Russian coast guard vessel had rammed its navy tugboat in the Sea of Azov.

BBC reports that Russian forces had fired on Ukrainian vessels injuring six crewmembers and captured three Ukrainian naval vessels.

The European Union called on Russia to "restore freedom of passage at the Kerch Strait" and urged "all to act with utmost restraint".

NATO said it "fully supports Ukraine's sovereignty and its territorial integrity, including its navigational rights in its territorial waters". It said Russia should "ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea".

Politico writes that Ukraine’s parliament on Monday voted to introduce martial law in the wake of Russia seizing Ukrainian vessels and detaining 24 sailors. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made a personal appeal to lawmakers to back his plan for martial law, warning of “a highly serious threat of a ground operation against Ukraine” by Moscow. The approved legislation foresees martial law being introduced for 30 days — cut back from Poroshenko’s original proposal of 60 days — in 10 of Ukraine’s 27 regions, which border Russia, the breakaway Transnistria region and the Black and Azov seas.

Lawmakers immediately voted to set a date for the country’s presidential election — March 31 next year — a move intended to reduce fears that Poroshenko would use martial law to postpone the election and hold onto power, according to Bloomberg.

Prepared by Marina Muradyan

17 May 2019
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