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Kerch Strait: tension between Moscow and Kiev increases

Reopened to ships headed to Russia. At 11 (New York) meeting at the UN

The tension between Russia and Ukraine increased dramatically yesterday after Moscow government decided to close the access to the waters of the Kerch Strait to Kiev civilian and military ships, but also to those direct or departing from the port of Mariupol. A real naval blockade that prevents free transit between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. What made the tension soar was the fact that the Russian Kamov Ka-52 helicopters, patrolling the area together with naval vessels and Sukhoi Su-25 airplanes, intercepted and boarded three Ukrainian Navy ships last night, escorting them into the port of Kerch and putting the sailors on board.

The incident sparked a harsh reaction -but not military- of Ukraine, and the government met during last evening to find a solution, identified in asking the Parliament to declare martial law today -sitting at 16.00. A dangerous signal to which if it will not be resolved politically the question could follow the state of war, for which the bases would be all, both because it seems that the Russian helicopters have opened fire on the Ukrainian armed forces both since a block naval equates to aggression.

NATO has sided with the "side" of Ukraine and today at 11:00 in New York -around 5:00pm Italian- will meet the United Nations Security Council. Meanwhile, Russia has reopened the Kerch strait to commercial vessels but only to those directed to the Russian ports. An unstable and complicated situation, made further difficult by the fact that 23 Ukrainian sailors were arrested by the Russian authorities, in waters that are formally not the territory of either party.

M/A - 1216431

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