Russia took Crimea and then tries to block Ukraine’s use of waterways: “The situation began ramping up in May, when Russia opened a 19-kilometer, rail-and-highway bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting mainland Russia with the annexed Crimean Peninsula. The bridge’s low height restricted the types of merchant ships that could pass, decreasing traffic to service Ukrainian ports in Mariupol and Berdyansk. For those cities, their ports are economic lifelines.”(Chris Miller-RFERL) https://www.rferl.org/a/explainer-kerch-strait-skirmish-ukraine-russia-simmering-european-conflict/29621909.html
Kaliningrad is even worse. Russia has occupied historically Baltic German Koenigsberg since 1945, renaming it Kaliningrad. Then complains that Europe has surrounded Russia, when Russia is occupying part of Europe!
From VOA News:
“Russia to Send More Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Crimea
November 28, 2018 4:55 AM, VOA News
Russia’s military said Wednesday it is adding more anti-aircraft missiles to its defense systems in the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula.
The move comes as Russia and Ukraine are locked in a dispute over a Sunday incident in which Russian forces seized three Ukrainian vessels and their crews in the Black Sea.
Russia accused the sailors, who were manning three Ukrainian navy ships, of illegally entering Russian waters and ignoring warnings from Russian border guards, charges Ukraine has denied.
On Tuesday, a court in Crimea ordered 12 of the 24 apprehended sailors to be detained for two months. The rest of the group was due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Ukraine has imposed martial law in some of its border regions in response to the incident, and with a growing number of other European countries, has urged Western allies to impose additional sanctions on Moscow.
President Petro Poroshenko said the martial law will help “strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities amid increasing aggression and according to international law a cold act of aggression by the Russian Federation.” He demanded Russia release the Ukrainian sailors and vessels.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the decision to impose martial law and told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he hoped Germany could influence Ukraine to avoid any “reckless acts.”
Putin is due to meet this week with U.S. President Donald Trump as leaders from the G-20 nations gather for a summit in Argentina.
But in an interview with the Washington Post, Trump said, “Maybe I won’t have the meeting.”
He said the decision would depend on his reading of a full report on the situation he was due to receive late Tuesday, and added, “I don’t like that aggression.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday that Russia has not received any information about canceling the meeting.” https://www.voanews.com/a/russia-ukraine/4677697.html
Hard to know what will happen here. BGR Group (Republican lobbyists) has long represented Russian oligarchs at Alfa Bank, and now LetterOne. But, they started representing Ukraine.
“Russia’s Dangerous Escalation in the Kerch Strait
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
November 26, 2018
The United States expresses its deep concern over the incident in the Black Sea that occurred November 25 as Ukrainian vessels attempted to transit through the Kerch Strait. Reports that Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law.
The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters.
We call on both parties to exercise restraint and abide by their international obligations and commitments. We urge Presidents Poroshenko and Putin to engage directly to resolve this situation. In that regard, we reiterate our support for the Normandy Four format.
The United States supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters, as well as the right of its vessels to traverse international waters. As stated in our Crimea Declaration, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea.” https://www.state. gov/secretary/remarks/2018/11/287554.htm