Russia’s Vladimir Putin blames Ukraine for Crimea escalation
The president made his remarks to German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has told the German chancellor that he is “seriously concerned” about the weekend’s escalation near Crimea and developments in Ukraine.
Russian border guards on Sunday opened fire on three Ukrainian navy vessels and eventually seized them and their crews.
Ukraine on Monday announced martial law in parts of the country, citing a “growing threat” from Russia.
The Kremlin said Mr Putin expressed his concern over the escalation and the martial law in Ukraine in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mr Putin told Mrs Merkel he lays all the blame for the confrontation on Ukraine and said Ukraine provoked it for political reasons.
Mrs Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Mrs Merkel in the conversation with Mr Putin stressed the need for de-escalation and dialogue.
Russia’s main intelligence agency has released a video of three crew members of the Ukrainian vessels that were seized.
The FSB put out the video, showing interviews with three seamen, all of whom confirmed that they violated the Russian border.
It was not immediately possible to ascertain if the men were talking under duress.
One of them was clearly reading from a teleprompter.