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Ukraine says Russia preparing to launch large-scale ground invasion

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russian troops crimea
Russian
marines parade during the Navy Day celebrations in Sevastopol,
Crimea, July 31, 2016.

REUTERS/Pavel
Rebrov


  • Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law in parts of the
    country as President Petro Poroshenko warned of
    the “extremely serious” threat of Russian
    invasion. 
  • Poroshenko said in a televised
    address
    that the move was necessary after
    Russian ships attacked Ukrainian vessels
     off the coast
    of Crimea on Sunday — a major escalation of tensions in the
    region.
  • The country’s parliament granted him emergency powers
    in certain areas of the country it considered most vulnerable
    to attack, and suspended elections for 30 days. 
  • Several countries firmly denounced Russia’s use of
    force in the stand-off, but President Trump refused to condemn
    Russian aggression. 
  • Russia has accused Kiev of plotting a “well-thought-out
    provocation
    ” in order to justify ramping up sanctions
    against them.

Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law in parts of the country
as President Petro Poroshenko warned of
the “extremely serious” threat of attack by Russian
forces. 

Poroshenko on Monday said in a televised
address
that the move was necessary after
Russian ships attacked Ukrainian vessels
 off the coast
of Crimea on Sunday.

“Russia has been waging a hybrid war against our country
for a fifth year. But with an attack on Ukrainian military boats
it moved to a new stage of aggression,” Poroshenko said.

Ukraine says Russia opened fire on its navy and seized
three of its vessels, injuring at least six of its servicemen.
Russia claims the ships entered Russian waters illegally, and
gave them warning to turn back. 


WATCH:
Shocking video shows the exact moment a suspected Russian ship
rams a Ukrainian boat during a tense naval
clash

Poroshenko said in his video address that martial law was
necessary as intelligence services had evidence that Russia was
preparing for a massive incursion.

“Here on several pages is a detailed description of all the
forces of the enemy located at a distance of literally several
dozens of kilometers from our border. Ready at any moment for an
immediate invasion of Ukraine,” he said.

The country’s parliament granted him emergency powers in
areas of the country most vulnerable to attack, and suspended
elections for 30 days. 

Critics alleged that Poroshenko’s request for martial law
was an attempt to postpone elections scheduled for next year,
though lawmakers confirmed the polls would take place as
scheduled.

President Donald Trump said he was working with EU leaders to
assess the situation, though
he refused to condemn Russian aggression
. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo called the incident “a dangerous escalation” and a
violation of international law, and called on both countries to
exercise caution. 

Several countries, including Britain, France, Poland,
Denmark, and Canada, denounced Russia’s use of force.

Russia has been steadily increasing its control around the
Crimean peninsula, which it annexed in 2014. Sunday’s stand-off
came to a head after Russia used a huge tanker to block passage
through the Kerch Strait — the only access point to the Sea of
Azov, which is shared by both Ukraine and Russia.

The Sea of Azov has been a flash point in the conflict between
the two countries. In May, Russia completed its construction of a
massive 18-kilometer (11.2 mile) bridge linking the Crimea
peninsula to mainland Russia.

Russia’s foreign ministry accused Ukraine of “well-thought-out
provocation
” in order to justify ramping up sanctions against
them. Russia also alleged that Kiev was working in coordination
with the US and EU and warned of “serious consequences.” 

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