Royal Navy warship buzzed by 17 ‘hostile’ Russian fighter jets near Crimea In May

HMS Duncan was sailing through the Black Sea with a fleet of NATO warships when the Russian fighter jets swooped in a display of “brazen hostility”.

Video of the dramatic moment in May earlier this year is being aired as part of the Channel 5 documentary following the operations of the Type 45 destroyer in the volatile region.

In the footage, the Russian jets are seen flying so close that the aircraft’s electronics could have been scrambled by the Portsmouth-based warship’s radar system leaving the potential for them to crash.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson praised the actions of the crew aboard HMS Duncan in the face of Russian aggression.

Read More at The Daily Star (with video)

Ukraine backs martial law after confrontation at sea with Russia

Kiev (AFP) – Ukraine’s parliament approved the introduction of martial law in border regions on Monday, as Russian state TV aired images of Ukrainian sailors captured after Moscow seized three of Kiev’s ships in a confrontation at sea.

After intense debate, 276 lawmakers voted in favour of President Petro Poroshenko’s request for martial law in border areas for 30 days.

The decision came after Russian forces boarded and captured Kiev’s ships on Sunday, with Moscow accusing the vessels of illegally entering Russian waters off the coast of Crimea in the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine and its Western allies say Russia illegally blocked the strait and acted against international law by grabbing the vessels and sailors.

The martial law gives Ukrainian authorities the power to mobilise citizens with military experience, regulate the media and restrict public rallies.

Amid fears of a Russian ground offensive, Poroshenko had wanted the law to cover the entire country but it was limited to border regions after opposition from lawmakers.

Before the vote, Poroshenko had accused Moscow of a “new phase of aggression.”

With Ukraine’s military on high alert, images of several captured sailors were broadcast on Russia’s state-run channel Rossiya 24 showing interrogations by Moscow’s security services.

At one point, one of the sailors is heard saying that “the actions of the Ukrainian armed vessels in the Kerch Strait had a provocatory character” — parroting the version of events put forward by Russian authorities.

The incident has raised fears of a wider military escalation. The UN Security Council met in an emergency session, where US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Russia against “outlaw actions”.


Russia-Ukraine crisis: Kiev declares martial law as world powers condemn the seizure of ships by Putin’s forces near Crimea

Martial law was imposed in Ukraine for 30 days as president Petro Poroshenko warned of the “extremely serious” threat of a Russian land invasion.

The parliament voted in favour of the measure on Monday night in response to the capture of three Ukrainian navy vessels and twenty-three crew members by Russian ships near the Kerch Strait.

Russia’s actions were also condemned at emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, where US representative Nikki Haley described the incident as an “outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory.”

The secretary-general of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, also said there was “no justification” for the seizure of the Ukrainian ships and sailors.

Meanwhile there there violent protests in Kiev and demonstrations outside Russian embassies across the world, including in London, Washington DC and Brussels.

Read More at The Independent.

Russia fires at Ukrainian ships and captures three vessels off Crimea

Russia has opened fire on Ukrainian ships and captured three vessels in a major escalation of tensions off the coast of Crimea.

Three sailors have been wounded after the Ukrainian navy said two artillery boats were hit by the strikes in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it used weapons after the Ukrainian ships ignored demands to stop and that it impounded three vessels which had illegally crossed the border.

The three injured sailors are receiving medical treatment and their lives are not in danger, the FSB said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK said Russian special forces had captured two armoured artillery boats and a tugboat in an “act of aggression”.

Read More at SkyNews.

Ukrainian Constitutional Court Approves Joining NATO And EU

The Ukrainian parliament has approved the former Soviet republic to become part of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. This week, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court accepted the legislation as constitutional.

“Having considered at the plenary session the case on the constitutional request of the Verkhovna Rada on providing of an opinion on the compliance of the draft law on amending the Constitution of Ukraine … the Constitutional Court of Ukraine concluded … recognize the draft law relevant to Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of Ukraine (on state’s strategic course to receive full membership of Ukraine in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) (register No. 9037),” the CCU’s conclusion reads, reported The Kyiv Post.

The inclusion of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics, like Georgia, is a very controversial issue, which the Kremlin has declared to be a red line.

Read More at Tasrizm.

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