Putin accuses Ukraine’s Poroshenko of Black Sea ‘provocation’

black sea

Vladimir Putin has accused Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, of orchestrating a naval “provocation” in the Black Sea at the weekend to bolster his popularity ratings before an election next year.

Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews on Sunday over what it said was their illegal entry into Russian waters, which Ukraine denies. “It was without doubt a provocation,” Putin said. “It was organised by the president ahead of the elections. The president is in fifth place ratings-wise and therefore had to do something. It was used as a pretext to introduce martial law.”

The Russian president, speaking at a financial forum in Moscow, said the west was ready to forgive Ukrainian politicians their shortcomings because it bought into the anti-Russian narrative that Kiev was promoting. He said the Ukrainian vessels had clearly been in the wrong. “Military vessels intruded into Russian territorial waters and did not answer [the border guards] … What were they supposed to do?” he said.

“They would do the same in your country, this is absolutely obvious,” he told a foreign investor. “These territorial waters were always ours, even before Crimea joined Russia.”(theguardian)…[+]