Ukraine’s President said late Tuesday he’s concerned about a possible full-scale confrontation with Russia following a maritime clash between the two countries over the weekend.
President Petro Poroshenko told Ukrainian journalists that the incident Sunday was an “extraordinary event.”
“Officially, without tearing off chevrons, without ‘green men,’ Russian troops in large numbers attacked the ships of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said on his website, referring to soldiers during the 2014 Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea who were not wearing insignia on their green uniforms.
The leader also pointed to what he called a strong Russian military presence along the border with his country.
“And that is why I don’t want anybody to think that it’s a trifle. The country is under the threat of a full-scale war with the Russian Federation,” Poroshenko said.
Earlier, he said that the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to Ukraine “full assistance, including military assistance,” after Sunday’s confrontation between Ukraine and Russia.
Poroshenko also said that during a recent phone call Pompeo pledged “full coordination” on protecting Ukrainian sovereignty following the clash with Russia.
He also said the Ukrainian government was considering limiting Russians’ ability to enter Ukraine during the period of martial law.
“One of the proposals to our chief of general staff and the chief of the border control is that (there) would be some limits for Russians to enter to Ukraine during this special period,” Poroshenko said from Kiev, adding that a final decision would likely be made tomorrow.
Ukraine and Russia have offered conflicting accounts of the incident, each accusing the other of violating the laws of the sea.