Left to go it alone, Ukraine's navy waits for Russia's next move

President Petro Poroshenko said that the one-month period of martial law introduced this week in Ukraine wouldn't restrict travel, cash withdrawals or currency purchases by Ukrainians but Russians will face some constraints.

Ukraine intends to request the closure of the Bosphorus strait for passage by Russian navy ships in connection with the Russian aggression against the Ukrainian military vessels in the Kerch Strait area, Ukraine's Naval Forces Commander Ihor Voronchenko has said.

In addition, President Trump says he canceled his meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, which begins in Buenos Aires on Friday.

The religious rift follows the broader collapse in relations between the two neighbours following Russia's seizure of Crimea in 2014 and backing of separatist uprisings in eastern Ukraine that have killed more than 10,000 people.

Orthodox communities will now have to convene at a date announced by Bartholomew I to formally form a new church, Poroshenko said Thursday.

The shipping incident is the latest dispute between the two countries since Russian forces took the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Ukraine also accused Moscow of blocking the country's Sea of Azov ports in the aftermath of Sunday's clash. A lawyer representing the sailors in Crimea, Jemil Temishev, said on Thursday that he believed the sailors were being transferred to Moscow's Lefortovo jail, one of Russia's most notorious prisons, used for holding suspected spies and political prisoners.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokeswoman would not comment directly on Mr Poroshenko's request, but stressed that "since Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has substantially increased its presence in the Black Sea".

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident. Russian Federation opened a bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Crimea with Russian Federation in May and has asserted control over the strait. They are facing charges of illegally crossing the Russian border, which carries a possible maximum sentence of six years in prison.

Putin has claimed that the naval confrontation was a ploy to boost his Ukrainian counterpart's popularity ahead of an election in March.

Tensions between Russian Federation and Ukraine hit a new low on November 25 after Ukrainian Navy gunboats violated Russia's territorial waters and proceeded to engage in risky maneuvers in and around the Kerch Strait.

On Sunday, Russian ships stopped Ukrainian naval vessels attempting to pass though the Kerch Strait, which connects the Azov with the Black Sea.

Russia is calling on the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other global organizations to pay attention to violations of human rights in that country, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Russian TV station Dozhd on Friday quoted Kogershyn Sagiyeva, a member of the Moscow oversight council that is allowed to inspect prisons, as saying that 21 seamen have been transferred to the Moscow Lefortovo jail while three other seamen are in a hospital in another jail. Several dozen Ukrainian ships have been blocked from either entering or leaving the sea.

"Russian citizens will go through an additional interview at the border, their previous visits to Ukraine will be scrutinised", he told Al Jazeera.


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