Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of massive concentration of troops on the border and warned of an imminent war. The Russian army had tripled the number of tanks at their positions along the border, Poroshenko said on Tuesday evening to several Ukrainian television stations.
He warned of the danger of a „complete war“. The shelling of Ukrainian ships off the Crimea was „only the beginning“. The Russian concentration of troops is to be observed „along the full length of our border“.
Poroshenko said on Monday that Russia could attack Ukraine by land. He cites the findings of his security agencies.
Whether there are actually current troop movements, can not be confirmed by independent side currently. The fact is that the Russian concentration of troops on the Ukrainian border is high anyway – but that has been a long time.
In his 30-minute TV interview Poroshenko presented a stapled folder, allegedly containing information from the Ukrainian intelligence services. Quoting this, Poroshenko listed:
According to satellite images, the number of tanks tripled between September and October 2018 on a Russian base 18 kilometers off the Ukrainian border. However, according to the headline in the presentation, these are T-62 tanks. These obsolete models are no longer used by the Russian army.
The number of Russian ships in the Sea of Azov has multiplied.
The number of troops, armored personnel carriers and airplanes in the Crimea have multiplied. However, Poroshenko made no time here.
Social media is also circulating images of Russian weapons allegedly being moved near the Sea of Azov. This can not be verified at the moment.
On Monday evening, the Ukrainian parliament decided to impose a 30-day martial law in parts of the country. It should come into force on Wednesday (all backgrounds to read here).
Poroshenko’s recent statements can be understood as a justification for the imposition of martial law. They could also aim to build international pressure before the G20 summit.
According to Poroshenko, the Kiev government is also considering making it harder or harder for Russian citizens to enter Ukraine.
Merkel relies on the OSCE
The current crisis between Russia and Ukraine had begun on Sunday with a naval confrontation in the Black Sea. Russian forces bombarded and raided three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean peninsula. Several Ukrainian marines were injured and others arrested.
For its part, Russia accuses the Ukrainians of a border violation and „provocation“.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) relies on deescalation in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. A mediating role should be played by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The different presentations of the weekend incident should be given to the OSCE and reviewed there, said Merkel on Tuesday after participants in the meeting of the Union faction in Berlin. The OSCE is also overseeing the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Protocols of the radio messages
On Monday, the Chancellor had phoned first with the Ukrainian leader Poroshenko and then with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her proposal was not flatly rejected, she said in the group meeting.
The portrayals of what she heard from Putin and Poroshenko could not be more different, Merkel was quoted by CDU / CSU MPs. Before she could see the minutes of the radio messages on the incident, she could not give a final verdict. (Read more about the radio messages here.)
At the same time Merkel stressed that Russia has much more resources in hand to deescalate the conflict.
According to the Federal Press Office, Merkel and Putin had discussed the possibility of having the incident analyzed in the Sea of Azov with the participation of border protection experts from both sides. Both agreed to stay in close contact.