Published: Thu, November 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting will explore ways out of deadlock

Kremlin says Putin-Trump meeting will explore ways out of deadlock

Namely, Petro Poroshenko wants the U.S. president to personally convey the message to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

It would also prevent Ukraine from going ahead with its plan to set up a naval base in the Sea of Azov, which was announced by President Petro Poroshenko in late September.

Several senior European politicians on Tuesday raised the possibility of new sanctions against Russian Federation to punish it for capturing three Ukrainian vessels at sea, an incident the West fears could ignite a wider conflict.

"The goal is simple - by placing a blockade on the Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, Russia hopes to drive Ukraine out of our own territory - the territory that is ours in accordance with all relevant worldwide laws", the minister stressed.

"It was obviously a flagrant violation of worldwide law", he said of the seizure Sunday of two Ukrainian gunboats and a tugboat and the 24 personnel aboard in the Kerch Strait of the Black Sea.

The Kremlin, however, has said it thought the meeting was still on.

Meanwhile, President Poroshenko claimed Russian Federation is preparing for a full scale invasion of his country, as he brought in martial law across much of it.

Speaking in northern Ukraine, Poroshenko, who has accused Moscow of naked military aggression, talked up his country's readiness to respond to any future Russian military action.

"Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security", he said.

The long-simmering conflict between Russia and Ukraine burst into the open on Sunday (Monday NZT), when Russian border guards fired on three Ukrainian vessels and seized the ships and the crew.

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It has raised fears of a wider escalation - in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 - and prompted global calls for restraint.

The European Union on Wednesday strongly condemned Russia's actions but, after three days of debate, failed to agree to threaten new sanctions.

Vadim Astafyev, a spokesman for Russia's southern military district, was cited by Russian news agencies as saying that a new battalion of advanced S-400 surface-to-air missiles would be delivered to Crimea soon and become operational by year's end.

The deployment is likely to have been long-planned, but the timing of the announcement appeared created to send a message to Ukraine and the West that Russian Federation is serious about defending what it regards as its own territory and waters.

Over the last year, the two countries have levied a series of tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of imports from one another, with the latest round of United States duties set to go into force in the new year.

The new deployment will allow it to increase its air defense coverage area.

Separately, a Reuters correspondent in Crimea on Wednesday observed a Russian navy minesweeper ship, the Vice-Admiral Zakharin, heading in the direction of the Sea of Azov. Twenty-four sailors were detained and "courts" in Russian-occupied Crimea ruled that they be detained for two months, pending trial.

But Merkel recently acknowledged its "political dimensions" and said Ukraine must continue to be a conduit for Russian gas sold to western Europe.

On Monday, the president said the US did not approve of escalating violence between Russian Federation and Ukraine, but didn't specifically call out Russia's behavior.

Brexit: Portugal backs Spain on Gibraltar clause
Mr Raab said the current agreement was unlikely to be passed by the Commons, and that ministers should contemplate a no deal. She raised the possibility of a second referendum, a general election or a request to reopen negotiations.

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