Major NATO presence in Black Sea, sanctions against Russia, supplies of lethal weapons needed after Russia's aggression near Kerch Strait
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that after Russia's aggression near the Kerch Strait major NATO presence in the Black Sea should be seen, the sanction package against Russia should be introduced, and military and technical upgrades should be done, including lethal weapon supplies for Ukraine.
According to a posting on the website of the head of state on Saturday, Poroshenko recalled in an interview with the U.S. Fox News TV channel about the events in the neutral waters of the Blacks Sea on November 25 when 10 Russian military vessels shot at and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and wounded six Ukrainian sailors.
Poroshenko said that this is the act of aggression and it aroused the quite strong reaction of the world, in particular, the U.S. president, the European Union, G7, G20 and other officials.
But these are statements, these are only words, and in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions it is extremely important for us to also act, he said. For example, first, we need a NATO presence in the Black Sea to prevent Russian troops from occupying the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov region, which is happening now, Poroshenko said. The Ukrainian president said that the Azov package of sanctions is very important, and when he met with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in Lithuania, Lithuania presented a national package of sanctions over an act of aggression in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait.
According to him, unity and solidarity are needed in this situation. Ukraine needs to improve cooperation with NATO to protect peace, security, freedom and democracy in the region. Ukraine needs a package of sanctions, military and technical upgrades should be done, including "the supply of lethal weapons to help us to protect our country" from a possible ground operation, which Ukraine does not rule out that Russia can start at any time, the head of state said.
He added that, according to available information, Putin expected that the Ukrainian ship would open fire and this would be the reason for Russia to launch a large ground operation.
This is absolutely unacceptable and we need unity, solidarity and action, Poroshenko said.
In addition, according to him, in the Kerch Strait, foreign vessels are daily waiting and losing dozens, even hundreds of U.S. dollars. 20% of them go under the European flags. This is absolutely irresponsible behavior of Russia. Unfortunately, this is why it is very important to act together, the president of Ukraine said.