Ukrainian president moves to end friendship treaty with Russian Federation

Russia massing troops, weapons at Ukraine border – Kiev

Putin Says ‘Too Early’ to Release Captured Ukrainian Sailors

Regional tensions escalated after Russian Federation fired on and captured three Ukrainian navy ships in the Sea of Azov near the annexed Crimea peninsula last month.

Speaking at a Ukrainian military event, President Petro Poroshenko said Russian Federation has deployed "more than 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored combat vehicles, 500 aircraft and 300 helicopters" along their common border.

It also means Poroshenko can ban peaceful public protests and regulate the media.

Poroshenko said on Monday that some reservists will be summoned for training as part of martial law. The measure, which affects the regions closest to Russia's military bases, was condemned by the Kremlin, which said the move would escalate the conflict. (The US Navy has the same mission, expanded to protect global shipping.) The Russians were likely hoping for just such a provocation, although they apparently miscalculated the worldwide reaction to it. Vladimir Putin's humiliation in Buenos Aires might have gotten the message through to Moscow.

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The content of this treaty forms Russia's legal basis for its recent use of force in the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. "The most consistent, however, has been Estonia", it added. It highlighted what it called discriminatory inspections of ships bound for Ukrainian ports, saying the checks violate maritime law and the countries' bilateral treaties.

Ukraine and Russian Federation have blamed each other for the naval incident which ramped-up sour relations created in 2014 when Russian Federation annexed Crimea and backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine also accused Russian Federation of blockading its ports on the Sea of Azov.

The United States, also keen to export gas to Europe, argues that the pipeline will harm Ukraine's economic interests and leave Germany dependent on Russian Federation for decades to come. "The vessels are stopped by the Russian side, they are still inspecting, but traffic has been partly restored". Independent observers have pointed out that the bridge's span is lower than global standards, putting a permanent cap on the size of ship able to enter the Azov.

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The naval clash came as the Ukrainian ships sailed to the Kerch Strait, the only waterway leading into the Sea of Azov and the site of a new key Russian bridge linking occupied Crimea with the Russian mainland.

The U.S. and its allies have condemned what they described as unjustified use of force by Russian Federation and urged it to release the ships and their crews.

Russian Federation announced on Monday that charges are to be made against the 24 military staff involved in a provocation of three small Ukrainian Navy ships in the Black Sea and near the Kerch Strait. The other 21 remained in custody in Crimea.

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