Citing Russia threat, Ukraine boosts security at ports, power plants

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin hinted that at least one NATO member was ready to enhance its presence in the Black Sea

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said the incident in the Kerch Strait was a "provocation" by Ukraine, and has called the ruling party in Kiev a "party of war".

The naval clash came as the Ukrainian ships sailed to the Kerch Strait, the only waterway leading into the Sea of Azov and the site of a new key Russian bridge linking occupied Crimea with the Russian mainland.

Earlier we reported President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko considered it necessary to increase the naval presence of Germany and the allies in the Black Sea.

German chancellor Angela Merkel aired her concerns with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit over a blockade that targets Ukraine, then ripped Russian aggression at the gathering Saturday.

The separatist conflict in eastern regions forming Ukraine's industrial heartland has taken a toll on the national economy, reducing the cargo flow through the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov.

Moscow says Ukrainian navy ships entered Russian waters while trying to cross the strait without prior notice, ignoring orders to stop. But following Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, Moscow has asserted greater control over the passage.

After US President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit, citing the military tensions with Ukraine, the Russian leader said there were no pre-conditions for future bilateral talks.

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Speaking to reporters after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Putin claimed the three ships' logs would show that they tried to cross the Kerch strait from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov deliberately to provoke Russian Federation.

Poroshenko has already responded by introducing martial law for 30 days in much of Ukraine, but is now considering further action.

Poroshenko said Monday that some reservists will be summoned for training as part of martial law.

Russia has claimed that its regular military forces are not stationed in the Donbas, but social media posts of Russian soldiers in the region have suggested otherwise.

It was the most unsafe clash between the two since Russian Federation annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014. An unsteady cease-fire has been in place there since 2015.

"The vast majority of (them) could not confirm they objective of their trip to Ukraine", Ukrainian border guard spokesman Andrei Demchenko told Ukrainian television on Saturday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday that Orthodox Christians would be free to remain part of the Russian branch of the church following the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

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