Russian officials publicly threaten Ukraine with “military conflict”, according to TASS.
Russia’s Federation Council on Wednesday approved a statement saying that violations of the rules of navigation by Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait are fraught with a military conflict with Russia in which NATO may be involved.
The Federation Council’s statement about NATO’s destructive policies being implemented since the alliance’s creation in 1949 was timed for the organization’s 70th anniversary.
“The passing of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait is not a question of the balance of force or of NATO’s presence in the Black Sea region. It is exclusively a problem of Ukraine’s compliance with the established procedures that are well-known to it and had been successfully used by it up to November 2018. Ukraine’s attempts to bypass these procedures are fraught with the risk of a military conflict between Ukraine and Russia in which NATO may be involved,” the Federation Council said.
The senators pointed out that after stepping up activity in the previously calm Baltic Region NATO was now building up military presence in the Black Sea region. “NATO’s support for Georgia during the tragic events in August 2008 and now for Ukraine, in particular, on November 25, 2018 when Ukrainian naval ships illegally crossed the state border of Russia in the Kerch Strait area incites the leaders of these two countries, certain about their impunity, to carry out more adventures,” the statement runs.
According to Deutsche Welle, Russia is now heavily militarizing Crimea and the Black Sea. Some 28,000 Russian soldiers are stationed on the peninsula. Russia has practically doubled its military budget over the past 10 years.
The tensions between Russia and Ukraine are not part of a frozen conflict: they can flare up with very little warning.
There have been growing tensions between the two sides over navigation in the Kerch Strait area and seized Ukrainian naval vessels.
Ukraine has accused Russia of trying to occupy the Sea of Azov and damage Ukraine’s economy by hindering access its ports.