Ukrainian President: 'Russian tanks are on our border'


The Russian coast guard fired on and seized the three Ukrainian vessels that sought to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait.

The Ukrainian leader has called for a stronger North Atlantic Treaty Organisation presence in the Black Sea region and for further Western sanctions against Russian Federation.

As Maxim Nosenko strides the decks of one of Ukraine's moored naval gunships, frozen in a biting chill that rips through the port of Mariupol, he's left to contemplate Kiev's unlikely response to the apparent bid by Moscow to annex the sea behind him: inactivity. So far, the West has offered condemnations of Russia's attack on Ukrainian ships but made no move to sanction Russian Federation.

Guterres urged Russian Federation on Thursday to respect "the territorial integrity of Ukraine" and "avoid the worst" after Russian Federation seized Ukrainian naval ships and their crews in a dispute over maritime access.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she's not backing off plans for a joint pipeline with Russia, but is pledging to ensure Ukraine remains a transit country for Russian natural gas.

It was not clear whether Merkel knew of Poroshenko's call for NATO's deployment when she spoke.

Russia's refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

"While desperately trying to stay in power, he is pulling the country into another scheme, followed by disastrous consequences for Ukraine, as well as for European security", said the spokesperson.

The Kremlin said it has not been notified of a cancellation.

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Russian news agencies on Thursday quoted Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, as saying that the Kremlin only learnt about the cancellation from Trump's tweet. Mr Putin said Wednesday. "The only language he understands is the unity of the Western world", he said.

A third, Anastasia, said: "I have many Russian friends who worry for us like we worry for them. Poroshenko only got Ukraine's boisterous parliament to approve the measure once he had watered down his proposal by reducing martial law - which entered into force Wednesday - to 30 days from 60, limiting it to border regions and promising not to postpone the election".

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russian Federation and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues. The other three regions border the Black Sea or Sea of Azov close to Crimea.

Moscow denies restricting any shipping.

Ukrainian officials on Friday upped the ante in the growing confrontation with Russia, announcing a travel ban for most Russian males and searching the home of an influential cleric of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"It's a miracle the Ukrainian seamen have survived", SBU deputy chief Oleh Frolov told reporters.

Mr Putin added that the Ukrainian president's decision to impose martial law after a mere "border incident" was extreme, because martial law was not even imposed at the height of the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014. This annexation sparked a violent conflict that has left more than 10,000 people dead. Six Ukrainian sailors were wounded.

In the interview with Bild, Mr Poroshenko lobbied the West for direct military support.