Kiev says Russian Federation has 'partially unlocked' Ukrainian Azov Sea ports - worldwide

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 leaders

"Russia recently seized Ukrainian ships and sailors near the Kerch Strait".

He said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was "closely monitoring" the current impasse between the two sides to avoid it "spiraling" out of control.

Foreign ministers from the 29 allies will meet Ukraine's foreign minister on Tuesday to discuss last week's incident in the Sea of Azov, in which the Russian navy seized three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

"The passage of vessels with agricultural products through ports in the Azov Sea has been unlocked", Ukraine's agriculture ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.

Russian Federation seized three Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea on Sunday (25 November) after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors, in a move that risks igniting a unsafe new crisis between the two countries. The incident has triggered a crisis that has raised fears of a wider conflict.

The detained Ukrainian sailors were taken to the Crimea occupied by Russia and has been arrested on suspicion of "violation of Russian borders".

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Among them are Adm Gennadiy Medvedev, chief of the Coast Guard and deputy chief of the FSB's border guard service; Alexey Salyaev, commander of the Don coast guard ship (that rammed a Ukrainian tug); and Andrei Shipykin, commander of the Izumrud coast guard ship (that fired on the Ukrainian vessels).

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responded to the standoff by introducing martial law for 30 days, something Ukraine hadn't done even after Crimea's annexation and amid large-scale fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in 2014-2015.

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Russian troops and tanks have been deployed along the border with Ukraine, according to Poroshenko, which he believes signals possible plans for a ground offensive.

"Today and tomorrow NATO's foreign ministers will meet and address wide range of issues of importance for our shared security".

Of similar concern to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is Russia's new SSC8 missile system. "It is mobile and hard to detect. And it could reach European cities, with little or no warning".

"The loading of grain to vessels through the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk is restored and carried out in regular mode", it said.

It must be "balanced, viable and respected by all sides".

"We are seeing an increase in the intensity of operational and combat training measures, and all of them, as a rule, are offensive in nature", he said.

Ukraine on Tuesday pressed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to come up with a "comprehensive answer" to Russian aggression in the Black Sea, as the alliance treads carefully for fear of escalating tensions further. This includes increasing the number of ships from 80 to 120 and also the presence of "air policing".

"Generally, from a NATO-wide perspective, no one will see that as a satisfactory move or end of the matter", the administration official added.

The Russians began inspecting ships and the Ukrainians accused them of imposing an economic blockade. It is a bit early to say what ministers will decide this week but allies are very concerned.



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