New crack in Russia-Ukraine relations

(VOVworld) – Russia had a row with Ukraine last week, after Moscow had accused Kiev of attempting attacks on Crimea to trigger a new conflict in the region. The row, the most serious incident since the Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014, has heightened tensions between the two neighboring countries.

New crack in Russia-Ukraine relations - ảnh 1
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo:Sputnik)

Russia’s Security Service (FSB) said that it had thwarted two armed Ukrainian raids on Crimea’s infrastructure and that 2 people were killed in the clashes. FSB accused the Ukrainian defense intelligence of planning the terrorist attacks, which were aimed at destabilizing the region prior to Russia’s parliamentary election next month.

Blaming each other

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine was choosing terror over peace and playing a dangerous game by attempting to provoke violence and conflict in Crimea. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on August 15 declared Moscow’s readiness to provide the West additional evidence on the Ukrainians’ armed intrusion into Crimea. Lavrov added that the incident affects the resumption of talks on Ukraine under Normandy mechanism. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement, saying the support from the West, including NATO, the EU, and the US, for Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko over Crimea issue has encouraged Kiev to take adventurous and provocative acts in the peninsula.

But President Poroshenko denied the accusation, which he said is groundless and ridiculous and a pretext for Russia to continue its military threat against Ukraine.

Retaliatory acts

Despite Kiev’s immediate denial, President Putin said Ukrainian authorities have shifted to terrorist tactics instead of peaceful arrangement. Russia Security Council convened a meeting chaired by Putin to discuss additional security measures. Moscow has promptly deployed its first 400 missile system to Crimea and the Volgograd region from August 16th to 19th. It’s also considering retaliatory measures, including severing diplomatic ties with Kiev. A group of Russian Communist Party MPs led by Sergei Obukhov sent a letter to President Putin, calling for the cancellation of the friendship, cooperation, and partnership treaty with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko ordered military units near Crimea and the Donbass region to be ready for war. At a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on August 11 at the request of Kiev, Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko asked UN and EU observers together with officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Crimea for questioning 2 suspects that Russia is detaining on terrorist attempt charges.

The Ukrainian envoy to the UN compared the worsening Russia-Ukraine relations to what had led to the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. But observers say conflict can hardly occur and that Moscow may impose economic and diplomatic sanctions to retaliate and isolate the Kiev administration. In a nutshell, if conflicts break out, a plan to stabilize eastern Ukraine will fail and the relationship between Russia and the West continues to deteriorate. Both sides have exchanged more moderate words. Foreign Minister Lavrov said he didn’t think everybody wants to cut off ties with Ukraine. During his telephone talks with US Vice President Joseph Biden, President Poroshenko reiterated Kiev’s intention to avoid tensions with Russia. Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on August 14 arrived in Ekaterinburg to discuss with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov the failed terrorist plot in Crimea.

Latest developments in Crimea have worsened Russia-Ukraine relations, cast a shadow on the implementation of the Minsk peace treaty, and affected efforts to prevent escalating violence in eastern Ukraine.

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