Ukraine Martial Law Could Worsen Tensions in Country’s East: Kremlin
Moscow: The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Ukraine’s decision to enforce martial law in several of its provinces would risk heightening tensions in the country’s east, where Ukrainian forces loyal to Kiev have been pitted against pro-Russian rebels for years. Ukrainian lawmakers on Monday passed a motion to impose martial law in 10 of its 27 regions starting Wednesday after Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels on Sunday in waters near the disputed Crimean peninsula, an act that has been condemned by Western institutions such as NATO and the European Union.
“The imposition of martial law in several regions could potentially raise the risk of an escalation in the regions of conflict,” Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesperson, said, Efe news reports. Insurgents allegedly backed by Russia have been in control of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk — an area collectively known as the Donbass — since 2014, the same year that Moscow annexed Crimea following the revolution in Ukraine that ousted the pro-Russia former president Viktor Yanukovych.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier on Tuesday to express his concern over the growing tensions between Moscow and Kiev. Putin told Merkel in a telephone conversation that the Ukrainian government “bears full responsibility for creating another conflict situation and for risks associated with it”. The Russian leader also described the presence of Ukrainian vessels near the Kerch Strait in Crimea on Sunday as “provocative” and in “gross violation of norms of international law”, according to the Kremlin. (IANS)