By Jesse Stiller
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have reached a fever pitch after Russia made intimidating advances against the country, such as seizing ships and capturing two dozen sailors, according to NBC News.
On Nov. 25, the New York Times and BBC reported that a faction of the Russian navy had moved into the Kerch Strait near the annexed territory of Crimea, and quickly approached the Ukrainian naval ships. The Russian military ships reportedly opened fire on the Ukrainian forces, resulting in six injuries and the seizure of two gunboats and a tug ship. The sailors on board were detained by Russian troops. Russia claimed that the Ukranian ships illegally entered its waters.
The next day, according to NPR, Ukraine’s parliament congregated for an emergency session to vote on imposing martial law in 10 of its provinces to combat Russia’s growing aggression and strengthen its defense. The vote was passed with near unanimous consent from lawmakers, rendering the affected areas under martial law for the next 30 days.
In addition to martial law, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has also urged members of NATO to send ships to Ukraine to help provide more security, BBC reported. However, NATO is reportedly hesitant to send ships to the troubled region, as experts suggest that an increase in presence would heighten tensions.
In a press conference on Nov. 26, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for Russia to back off Ukrainian ports and also threatened the possibility of more sanctions, while reaffirming pleas for cooler heads to prevail.
The U.N. has also held an emergency meeting to address the situation, according to NPR, in which outgoing U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the seizure of the ships was an “outrageous violation” of U.N. rules and guidelines
In response to the events in Ukraine, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday, Nov. 29 to the New York Times and other media outlets through Twitter that a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit had been canceled because of the rising tensions.
“‘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. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!’” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning in a two-part tweet, according to the New York Times.
Russia has remained silent on most of the matter, but the Kremlin expressed “regret,” according to The Telegraph, that Trump canceled the meeting but that the country hopes to be back in contact with in the near future once the situation is resolved.