Berlin should not be ‘drawn into war’ with Russia by Kiev over Kerch crisis – German ex-FM Gabriel
Former German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has spoken out about the recent Kerch Strait incident, criticizing Kiev’s attempts to raise stakes in the political row with Moscow. At any rate, Germany “should not be drawn into a war against Russia,” Gabriel told Tagesspiegel newspaper.
He also denounced Ukraine’s call to shut international ports for Russian vessels based in Crimea, calling the suggestion “a new edition of gunboat diplomacy.”
In a separate interview with N-TV broadcaster, the retired politician also accused Ukraine of trying to ignite a direct confrontation between Russia and Germany. “I think that in no case should we let ourselves be drawn into a war through Ukraine,” Gabriel stressed, adding “this is what Ukraine has tried [to do].”
Gabriel’s remarks came after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko suggested that Berlin provide military assistance to Kiev. “We need increased presence warships from Germany and allied nations in the Black Sea to send a message and deter Russia,” he told Funke media group.
Berlin, however, ruled out a possibility of its warships being sent to Crimean shores. “We do understand Ukrainian concerns,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas responded last week, adding, “but what we do not want is militarization of this conflict.”
Earlier, Poroshenko had also called NATO to deploy military vessels to the Crimean coast "in order to back Ukraine and ensure security.”
Kiev’s pleas for help had also apparently fallen on deaf ears as NATO provided a tight-lipped response, with the spokeswoman Oana Lungescu saying the bloc already has a sizeable naval presence in the Black Sea.
As the story developed, Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted the Ukrainian conflict will go on as long as “a party of war” stays in power in Kiev. Ukraine’s government is craving war to rip profits from it and to blame their own domestic failures on some “aggressors.”
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine soared after the incident in the Kerch Strait last weekend. At the time, several Ukrainian Navy ships tried to sail through the strait without seeking the proper permission, Moscow said. Responding to the border violation, Russia’s border guard have seized the vessels and detained their crews.
While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine's presidential election.
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