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Mattis disses Moscow: ‘Russia cannot be counted on right now to keep its word’

Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis meets with Lithuania's Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Nov. 28, 2018. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)
November 30, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had words of discontent for Russia this week, this after Russia rammed into, fired on and then seized three Ukrainian Naval vessels off the coast of Crimea over the weekend.

“When you think that there is a treaty between the two countries … it just shows that Russia cannot be counted on right now to keep its word,” Mattis told reporters Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Ukraine said that Russia rammed one of its Navy tugboats, fired on two other Ukrainian Naval gunboats and seized all three after a short chase on Sunday.

This all took place off the coast of Crimea, which Russia invaded and annexed from Ukraine in 2014 against the warnings of international leaders, including then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

Russia claims the Ukrainian vessels had “illegally” entered its waters and were engaging in “illegal” activities. Russia also captured and is holding 23 Ukrainian sailors, some of whom are said to be wounded.

Ukrainian Parliament voted on Monday to impose martial law, this after the tense clash with Russia in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s martial law will last for 30 days, from Nov. 28.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had Monday signed a decree introducing martial law in the country for 60 days, until Jan. 25, 2019. The decree needed to be approved by Ukrainian Parliament in order to be in full effect.

Ukraine has since called on President Donald Trump to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it has also asked NATO to send ships to the Azov Sea to help protect the country.

Both Ukraine and Russia have reportedly mobilized troops at their border, and Poroshenko has warned that a “full-scale war” could break out over Russia’s aggression.

President Donald Trump abruptly canceled his anticipated and confirmed meeting with Putin at the G20 summit taking place in Argentina.

“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 […] in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

“I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved,” he added.

The Kremlin had announced earlier in the day that Trump and Putin would meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit this Saturday in Argentina, after Trump had previously hinted he might cancel the meeting following Russia’s clash with Ukraine at sea over the weekend.