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Ukraine: ‘Full-scale war’ with Russia possible as both nations mobilize troops to their borders

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (Michał Józefaciuk/Wikimedia)
November 28, 2018

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait could possibly lead the two nations to war.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the latest conflict over the weekend has escalated tensions and heightened the risk for “full-scale war” with Russia, Newsweek reported Tuesday.

“I don’t want anyone to think this is fun and games. Ukraine is under threat of full-scale war with Russia,” Poroshenko said Tuesday.

He added that Ukrainian troops have been activated in preparation for a potential “large-scale ground invasion.” He noted that “evidence collected by our intelligence” has demonstrated “serious grounds to believe Russia is ready to follow with a ground attack.”

Russia has deployed its own troops near the Ukrainian border, escalating already high tensions.

Ukrainian Parliament approved a measure to implement martial law in several provinces effective Wednesday morning and lasting for 30 days. Additionally, Poroshenko has said that Russia’s travel to Ukraine will be limited.

“One of the proposals to our chief of general staff and the chief of the border control is that (there) would be some limits for Russians to enter to Ukraine during this special period,” Poroshenko said, according to CNN.

On Sunday, Russia decided to block Ukraine’s passage in the Kerch Strait, a waterway frequently used by both countries.

Russia rammed a Ukrainian Navy tugboat, fired on two other Ukrainian naval boats, and seized all three – including 23 sailors.

Earlier in the day, Russia also scrambled two jets to monitor Ukraine’s naval activity.

Crimea has ordered a two-month detention for 12 of the Ukrainian sailors while they await their Jan. 25, 2019 trial for charges of trespassing into Russia territory.

Video footage released by Russian Federal Security Service shows a Ukrainian sailor confessing to the act of provoking Russian ships. However, his confession is suspected to be carried out under duress.

Russia issued a statement on Tuesday blaming Ukraine for “deliberately ignor[ing] the rules of peaceful passage in the territorial sea of ​​the Russian Federation.”

“It is emphasized that the Ukrainian leadership bears full responsibility for the creation of another conflict situation and the associated risks. All this is clearly undertaken in view of the election campaign in Ukraine,” the statement added.

The United States swiftly condemned Russia’s actions and pledged support to Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley spoke at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday, during which she said the conflict on Sunday was “yet another reckless Russian escalation” and called on equal condemnation from partner countries.

“Impeding Ukraine’s lawful transit through the Kerch Strait is a violation under international law. It is an arrogant act that the international community must condemn and will never accept,” she said.