- AP News
- Abc News
Russia is accusing Ukrainian sailors of illegally crossing Russian waters and ignoring warnings from border guards, and sentenced them to two months of detention.
The sentence has angered Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko who along with a growing number of European leaders is calling for additional Western sanctions on Russia. In Washington, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert also condemned Moscow’s actions. It’s a dangerous escalation on the part of Russians continued aggressive behavior against Ukraine. The United States continues to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The secretary and the president both have a very strong relationship with the government in Ukraine, President Poroshenko in particular.
Nauert said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading to Brussels next week for NATO meetings, and that Ukraine will likely be a big topic of conversation. She called on Europe to do more to assist Kiev. A number of foreign policy experts also blamed Russia for the escalating tensions.
We know that Russia is, is at fault here. We know that they’re still holding Ukrainians essentially as hostages which is beyond any definition of acceptable behavior by a modern civilized state. Surotchak said Moscow has been trying to destabilize Ukraine for the past five years. They’re trying to show another example of how Ukraine is unable to protect its borders, and is an illegitimate regime or illegitimate government and it’s just another, as I said, another building block in Moscow’s narrative that Ukraine, democratic Ukraine, cannot be allowed to survive and prosper. Some experts warned the tensions could spiral out of control. If President Poroshenko knowing he has elections coming up, if he thinks he will be very popular to retaliate, then one thing could lead to another and we could have a major war on her hands.
Coffey said, in the current situation, everyone needs to remember it was Russia that invaded Ukraine in 2014 and it is Russia that occupies Crimea. He called for a strong response from President Donald Trump.
Cindy Saine VOA News, the State Department.