Interfax reports that the President of Russia Vladimir Putin refuses to have telephone conversations with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko because he feels that it could be used for the Ukrainian President’s re-election campaign.
“It is not that I am just avoiding or don’t want to talk to Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko], that’s not it at all. The issue is that I do not want to take part in his election campaign,” said Putin, responding to journalists’ questions as to why there have been no telephone conversations with Poroshenko that the Ukrainian side has asked for.
Putin stated that Poroshenko is creating provocative and crises situations and then shifts the responsibility for this to Russia “to demonstrate that he successfully solves any problems.”
“It’s a clever tactic, and I do not want to take part in this tactic, and I will not,” stated Putin.
On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.
Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdiansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.
On November 28, the Kremlin-controlled court of Simferopol placed the Ukrainian sailors under 2 months of arrest – until January 25, 2019.
After the incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko imposed martial law in ten regions of Ukraine which will last until December 26.