Kremlin calls absurd accusation it has designs on Ukrainian sea ports

Kremlin calls absurd accusation it has designs on Ukrainian sea ports

President Petro Poroshenko is fearful that Putin could try to seize the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, located around the Sea of Azov.

Peskov also rejected Kiev's claim that Russian Federation was blocking traffic to and from Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, saying navigation has continued normally except for occasional breaks because of bad weather.

Putin said at the summit that there's been no discussion with Ukraine about releasing the sailors or the ships.

Donald Trump had an "informal" conversation with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Argentina on Friday, one day after the US president announced that he had made a decision to cancel a meeting with his Russian counterpart because of new developments in Russia's conflict with Ukraine.

As part of the 30-day martial law, all Russian males aged 16 to 60 have been barred from entering Ukraine, a move which Mr Poroshenko said was needed to prevent Russia further destabilising his country.

'Ukraine is taking its own steps in response to the threat of a large-scale Russian invasion, ' the Ukrainian leader said.

On Sunday, a Kremlin spokesman said that Western leaders had listened to Russia's description of the events in the Kerch Strait last week.

Relations between the two neighbors have been strained following a November 25 clash in which the Russian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews off the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014 from Ukraine.

Russia massing troops, weapons at Ukraine border – Kiev

Amid the tensions, the Russian military said its forces in occupied Crimea were conducting drills involving Bal and Bastion long-range anti-ship missile systems.

The Kremlin on Monday called absurd a Ukrainian accusation it has designs on the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk in order to create a land corridor between Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Earlier we reported President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko considered it necessary to increase the naval presence of Germany and the allies in the Black Sea.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said after Poroshenko first made his call for a stronger Western naval force in the Black Sea that "there is already a lot of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [vessels] in the Black Sea and we will continue to assess our presence in the region", the AP quoted her as saying.

Kiev has accused authorities in the Kerch Strait of a "blockade" against Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea.

It comes after Russian forces seized a number of Ukrainian ships and their crews following an altercation in the Sea of Azov.

Peskov said Monday that "no such conversation is planned".

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