Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

U.S. to Send Warship to Black Sea Amid Kerch Strait Tensions

U.S. to Send Warship to Black Sea Amid Kerch Strait Tensions

The situation came to a head late last month when Russian Federation fired at, damaged and subsequently seized three Ukrainian navy vessels, along with 24 crew members who now face charges of illegal border crossing.

"It is Kremlin's regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict".

The U.S. military has begun preparations to sail a Navy warship into the Black Sea amid heightened tensions over Russia's seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors.

Later Tuesday, the Ukrainian Agriculture Ministry said grain was again being loaded onto ships in the two ports.

The passage at the start of this month of a small number of ships doesn't resolve the issue, Ukraine's Sea Ports Administration said Tuesday. Ukraine has declared martial law in some regions and banned entry to Russian men aged 16 to 60.

The vessels were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait, which is located between Russia's mainland and the Crimean Peninsula that Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The worldwide community views the annexation as illegal and the election Russian Federation uses to justify it as illegitimate.

Some critics at home, including Poroshenko's main political rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, accused him of using the naval incident for political purposes before March's election.

The Kremlin has called the naval incident a provocation meant to shore up Poroshenko's sagging popularity.

"All of Ukraine is now proud of your loved ones", he said during the emotional meeting in his office, hugging the captives' family members, some teary-eyed.

Kremlin critics have said Russian Federation is preparing a show trial of the sailors.

Poroshenko, who has made an independent church one of the main slogans of his not-yet-announced re-election bid, said that Orthodox communities would gather on December 15 to adopt the charter of the new Ukrainian church and choose its leader.

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