Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Escalates

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Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Escalates

Sal Donofrio, Staff Writer

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Four years ago, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. Not to mention the use of Russian soldiers to aid separatists in eastern Ukraine. But now, Russia has openly struck first after the Russian Navy fired on Ukrainian Navy ships and captured their crews. Moreover, the Russian Navy has blockaded the Kerch Strait, a narrow stretch of water that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. A sea that is extremely important to Ukrainian ports.

In the aftermath of the brief engagement, both sides were quick to blame each other for the confrontation with Ukraine taking it a step further by imposing martial law as well as prohibiting certain Russian citizens from boarding flights as well as stranding ships and crews inside each others countries.

This engagement comes days before a G20 summit in Argentina. US President Donald Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to Russia continuing to hold Ukrainian ships and sailors. The sailors themselves are currently imprisoned and some have already been tried for various ‘crimes’ and transported to Moscow.

Both NATO and the UN Security Council have denounced Russia’s actions citing violations of international law.

US secretary of defense James Mattis declared “Russia cannot be counted on now to keep its word.”

While it has been a few weeks since the last engagement, Russia is reportedly moving troops in the separatist controlled area of eastern Ukraine.

Tensions can only escalate while Russia continues to hold the captured Ukrainian sailors and imprison them as well as continue to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.