Ukraine seeks more sanctions on Russia
MILAN: Ukraine urged a gathering of dozens of foreign ministers yesterday to increase sanctions against Russia, accusing Moscow of ramping up aggression against Kiev and sowing ‘‘instability and insecurity’’ across the West.
Speaking at a meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Osce), the foreign minister of Ukraine denounced the recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russian forces off Crimea, say ing it represented another assault on international law.
‘‘It is a matter of urgency to provide a prompt and consolidated international response to this act of aggression. Declarations are not enough. There must be action,’’ Pavlo Klimkin told the annual gathering of Osce ministers.
‘‘We must raise the cost for Russia with comprehensive and tailored sanctions . . . There can be no business as usual.’’
The 57nation Osce, a security and human rights watch dog, has been rattled by the military and diplomatic standoff between Russia and Ukraine, both of whom are member states.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared untouched by the criticism that faced him in Milan, pinning the blame for years of escalating tensions with Kiev on Ukraine and its allies.
‘‘Striving for dominance, a small group of countries uses blackmail, pressure and threats,’’ Lavrov told the gathering in a conference centre in Italy’s financial capital.
‘‘Kiev [is] free from any punishment, shielded by its Western sponsors, who justify all its outrageous actions,’’ he said.
The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea, previously Ukrainian territory.
Fighting between Ukraine and Moscowbacked separatists in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people. — Reuters
On a mission . . . Ukrainian paratroopers prepare to board military planes before departing to the eastern regions of the country at an air force base near Zhytomyr, Ukraine, yesterday.