„The current leadership of Ukraine is not interested in solving the situation, certainly not by peaceful means,“ said Putin to journalists on Saturday (local time) at the end of the summit of leaders of the major economies (G20) in Buenos Aires ,
This can be seen in the fighting in eastern Ukraine as in the recent incident on the Black Sea, which Putin called a Ukrainian provocation. „This is a party of the war, and as long as it is in power, tragedies of this kind and the war will continue,“ said the Kremlin chief on the leadership of Kiev around President Petro Poroshenko. Kiev is constantly blaming the alleged Russian aggression for its own failures.
The Russian Coast Guard forcefully raided three Ukrainian naval boats last weekend and arrested their crews. The Ukrainians wanted to drive past the peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia, through the strait of Kerch into the Sea of Azov, which is being increasingly sealed off by Russia.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and other politicians at the summit sought to de-escalate in this new twist on the five-year conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Merkel proposed a mediation attempt to Putin: a consultant-level meeting in the so-called Normandie format, which includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine. „This has also been noted with approval,“ said the Chancellor. Kiev is ready, said Poroshenko on Sunday the station France 24.
Merkel stressed that the free shipping traffic through the Sea of Azov must be preserved. There is a Russian-Ukrainian agreement from 2003. „Russia must comply with this foundation.“ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: „Merkel has expressed her desire to contribute to a solution to this situation.“ The word mediation had not fallen „and would not have fit“. After all, it was about a violation of the Russian border. A release of the 24 captured Ukrainian sailors depended on the Russian judiciary.
His own violence against Ukraine has always denied Russia. In 2014, Russia took away from the neighboring country the Crimean peninsula, which is seen by most countries as a violation of international law. In eastern Ukraine, Moscow is conducting a covert war, supporting pro-Russian separatists with weapons, ammunition and fighters. Two decisive defeats of the Ukrainian army at Ilovajsk 2014 and Debalzewe 2015 would hardly have been possible without the superior firepower of whole Russian units. The fighting has so far killed more than 10,000 people. An existing ceasefire is not respected by both sides.
Poroshenko said that with the escalation on the Black Sea, Russia wants to test the international community’s resolve: „Does the world allow the Sea of Azov and then the Black Sea to turn into Russian inland lakes?“ He asked Saturday. He warned again that around 80,000 Russian soldiers had marched on the borders of his country.
Because of the allegedly increased threat Poroshenko has introduced martial law for 30 days. The special powers apply in the border areas to Russia. The measure remains limited until 26 December, the head of state promised at a meeting with military officials. The Ministry of Defense wants to convene reservists from Monday to exercises. They were supposed to last ten days and the bars would last 20 days, the ministry said.
For martial law critics see domestic political reasons: Poroshenko wants to strengthen his weak position before the presidential election in March 2019. Putin also emphasized on his appearance: „Martial law has been introduced in exactly the ten areas in which the incumbent president has the least support.“
The discussion about an appropriate response to the new escalation also continued in Germany. Poroshenko had demanded that Germany and other NATO partners with naval ships show presence in the Black Sea. Berlin refused, NATO reacted evasively. Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) criticized Poroshenko. Germany should „not be drawn into a war against Russia,“ he told the newspaper „Tagesspiegel.“