Russia accuses Ukraine of playing with fire by imposing martial law

MOSCOW, Nov 30, 2018, Xinhua. Russia on Friday accused Ukraine of playing with fire by imposing martial law amid tensions off Crimea, which Moscow said threatened security in Europe, reported the Xinhua.

The Ukrainian authorities aimed to use martial law to raise the electoral rating of President Petro Poroshenko and “earn some points on the crest of the next Russophobic wave,” said Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law in regions mainly bordering Russia for 30 days starting from Wednesday, after Russia seized three Ukrainian warships.

Poroshenko said that “martial law does not mean the declaration of war,” but a step towards strengthening Ukraine’s defense.

On Sunday, three Ukrainian naval ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov were seized by Russian forces for allegedly violating the Russian border.

The Ukrainian Navy said that it had informed Russia in advance of the passage, while Russia said it had received no such report and the ships ignored multiple warnings by the Russian border guards.

“We regard what is happening in Ukraine as another alarming signal that the situation in the country is developing along a confrontational path,” Zakharova said.

Russia claimed that the incident was a provocation devised by the Ukrainian authorities, while Kiev urged Moscow to release captured Ukrainian soldiers.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been deteriorating since Crimea was incorporated into Russia in March 2014 following a local referendum.

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