Russia drums up tension with Ukraine over Crimea

Ukraine puts troops on high alert as Moscow threatens with "additional measures" after alleged armed attack on Crimea.

    NATO is concerned about the heightened tension [Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via Reuters]
    NATO is concerned about the heightened tension [Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin/via Reuters]

    The death of Russian servicemen in armed clashes on the border between the annexed Crimean peninsula and the rest of Ukraine over the weekend will have consequences, Russia has warned.

    The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that attempts to destabilise the situation in Crimea would fail, referring to the alleged attack from the Ukrainian side.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with security chiefs to discuss "additional measures for ensuring security for citizens and essential infrastructure in Crimea", the Kremlin said in a statement.

    "Scenarios were carefully considered for anti-terrorist security measures at the land border, in the waters and in the airspace of Crimea," it said. 

    READ MORE: Ukraine divided - stories from warring sides

    Two residents of Crimea told the AFP news agency there had been an unexplained build-up of Russian military hardware in the area over the past few weeks.

    Ukraine has denied the clashes and deaths took place, but placed its forces around Crimea on high alert as the tensions soared.

    A senior Ukrainian security official told AFP that Moscow's claims were a "crude Russian provocation" and that Kiev was "getting ready for anything", including an invasion by Moscow.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he had asked his foreign minister to arrange telephone conversations over the issue with Putin as well as the leaders of Germany and France, US Vice President Joe Biden and European Council President Donald Tusk.

    READ MORE: The Odessa File

    The UN Security Council was to discuss the growing tensions later on Thursday at the request of Ukraine, a non-permanent council member.

    NATO is concerned about the heightened tension between Moscow and Kiev, an alliance official told the DPA news agency on condition of anonymity.

    "We are also deeply concerned by the recent upsurge in violence in eastern Ukraine, and the increase in ceasefire violations along the line of contact, primarily by the Russian-backed militants," the official said.

    He called on Russia to "work for calm and de-escalation", while urging all parties back to the negotiating table to achieve a peaceful settlement.

    Moscow and Kiev have been locked in a bitter dispute since the Kremlin seized Crimea in March 2014 after Ukraine's Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.