Ukraine urges NATO to de­ploy ships in dis­pute

The Wichita Eagle - - News - BY YURAS KAR­MANAU AND VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

The pres­i­dent of Ukraine is urg­ing NATO to de­ploy war­ships to the Sea of Azov, 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.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Thurs­day 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 ear­lier Thurs­day 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 on Sun­day. Rus­sia al­leged the Ukrainian ves­sels had failed to ob­tain per­mis­sion to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. Ukraine in­sisted its ves­sels were op­er­at­ing in line with in­ter­na­tional mar­itime rules in the strait.

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