Amid the high tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko wants NATO to deploy naval ships to the Sea of Azov to “provide security”.
President Poroshenko made this demand in an interview with the German daily Bild, saying that “Germany is one of our closest allies and we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security.”
This demand comes despite a 2003 treaty between Russia and Ukraine which stipulates that agreement from each of the two littoral countries is required for warships from any other country to enter the internal waters of the Sea of Azov.
Poroshenko also accused Putin of having hegemonic designs on his entire country. He said, "Putin wants the old Russian empire back," he said. "Crimea, Donbass, the whole country. As Russian Tsar, as he sees himself, his empire can not function without Ukraine. He sees us as his colony."
Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – which is a security alliance made up of 29 countries are scheduled to meet on December 3 in Brussels to assess their existing presence in the area.
However, German chancellor, Angela Merkel has already publicly responded to the growing tensions in her neighbourhood saying there was no military solution to the problems. She however did say that Moscow’s actions of attacking the Ukrainian vessels and arresting the seamen on the three vessels as unacceptable. She said she would be talking directly to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, at the G20 summit in Argentina, which starts on Friday.
Unlike Merkel, US President Donald Trump has canceled his talk with his Russian counterpart over aggression in the Kerch Strait. This was a previously scheduled meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2018
Russia for its part has maintained that the confrontation was trigered by the Ukrainian vessels which forcefully tried to make their way through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov. Moscow says its border forces were not informed of Ukraine’s intention of sailing to the Sea of Azov and their actions were intended to manufacture tension.