(VIDEO) Ukraine: Intercepted communications suggest Kremlin directed Azov Sea crisis

Shortly after Russian forces seized three Ukrainian warships and detained several of their crew in the Sea of Azov over the weekend, the Ukrainian General Staff posted what they call intercepted communications between the Russian sailors and their commanders ashore. In the recording, one sailor says that the attack was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian diplomats in the United States confirmed that the audio and accompanying YouTube video had come from the Ukraine government. A researcher from the open-source investigatory organization Bellingcat said that they knew of the existence of raw files that support the claim of the Ukrainian government.

The Ukrainian government also released a statement outlining their version of events, claiming that their gunboats Berdyansk and Nikopol and harbor tug Yani Kapu were transiting from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol The statement said that Ukrainian officials had communicated all of this to Russian authorities “in keeping with international norms.”

They claim that “no response was provided.”

“According to information, small armored artillery boat ‘Berdyansk’ and ‘Yani Kapu’ harbour tug are seized and towed. ‘Nikopol’ boat is blocked and moves escorted by Russian forces. Six Ukrainian servicemen are injured,” they wrote in their statement provided to press.

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George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States, passes away at 94

Former , who spent a lifetime in public service and as the nation’s leader scored a decisive victory over Saddam Hussein but battled a faltering economy, died Friday at age 94.

Family spokesman Jim McGrath said Bush died shortly after 10 p.m. Friday, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara Bush.

He is survived by five children (a sixth died in early childhood) and 14 grandchildren.

Former President George W. Bush issued the following statement upon his father’s death:

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H.W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

George H.W. Bush was known for his gentlemanly demeanor, dedication to traditional American values, willingness to take on foreign despots like Iraq’s Hussein and Panama’s Manuel Noriega, and presiding over the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Read More at Fox News.

Russia To Block Northern Sea Route To Foreign Warships

Russia has decided to block the Northern Sea Route to foreign warships in a further bid to control the Arctic. Military vessels will only be able to pass with permission from the Russian Federation said the head of the National Center for Defense Management of Russia, Mikhail Mizintsev, at a recent conference in Moscow for interdepartmental cooperation. The development was reported by Russian news outlet RIA Novosti.

According to him, in order to eliminate the legal vacuum regarding the use of the Northern Sea Route, an interdepartmental work was organized to improve Russian legislation. Its result will be the notification nature of navigation of foreign warships. The work will be completed by the beginning of the navigation in 2019, added Mizintsev, reported RIA.

The Kremlin has made a determined effort over the last decade to ensure its control over Arctic areas where it has made geographical claims. Russia is far ahead of Western militaries regarding the deployment of icebreakers and military force in the region.

The Northern Sea Route is the main Arctic shipping route of Russia, the shortest water route between the Far East and the European part of the country. The path connects the ports of the Arctic and the major rivers of the Northern region. At the end of 2017, the volume of cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route amounted to 10.7 million tons, wrote RIA.

Read more at Tzarism.

Russian tanks massing on Ukraine’s border, President says

The Ukrainian president has said he has evidence that Russian military tanks are massing along his country’s border.

Petro Poroshenko has shown Sky News images of what he claims are tanks lining up along the border, close to where Russia stores its ammunition.

He said: “This is the tank base just 18km from our border, this was happening in September, October, and now.

“This is 18km from my border, this is the same warehouse where they have their ammunition, the same where they have multi-rocket launch systems, we should be prepared to protect my country.

“If the whole world has no reason to trust Putin, Ukraine definitely doesn’t have a reason to go with him.”

Read  More and see the video of the interview at Sky News.

Ukraine bans Russian men from entering country amid invasion fears

Ukraine has banned Russian men aged between 16 and 60 from entering the country, amid fears Moscow is planning an invasion.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said the restrictions have been imposed to prevent Russians from forming “private armies” in his country.

Moscow has been supporting Russian separatists in the east of the country with troops and weapons.

Poroshenko said: “There is no red line for Putin and this is the very strong reason why we should be together, the whole civilised world.

“Not only the leaders, with whom a very reliable partnership, but the people of UK, of Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, the whole civilised world would be together and this is very important for global security.”

Martial law has been imposed in the former Soviet state amid fears of attack, with the president saying he believes Putin wants to annex Ukraine.

Read more at Sky News.

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