President Petro Poroshenko said he hoped members of the alliance would send warships into disputed waters in the Sea of Azov.
Since Russia fired shots at three Ukrainian Navy ships over the other weekend, Western countries have issued statements saying they are “concerned” or even “deeply concerned,” but so far they have not — as Ukrainian officials had hoped — imposed sanctions.
The Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, argued in an interview in the German newspaper Bild on Thursday for a more forceful response from the West, including for NATO warships to be sent into disputed waters in the Sea of Azov.
“Putin wants the old Russian Empire back,” Mr. Poroshenko cautioned, suggesting a new stage of Russian aggression. “Crimea, eastern Ukraine, he wants the whole country.”
“Germany also has to ask itself,” he added, “What will Putin do next if we do not stop him?”
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, whose focus has traditionally been on guaranteeing security against Russia. The alliance issued a statement condemning Russian forces for impounding Ukrainian vessels on Sunday — as the European Union did on Wednesday when it announced that the bloc would not impose sanctions — but NATO commanders have said entering the Sea of Azov is unlikely: It is not considered international waters.
The crisis flared less than a week before President Trump was to meet President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, on the sidelines of a summit meeting in Argentina of leaders from the Group of 20 industrialized nations. On Thursday in Moscow, the Kremlin said the meeting was still scheduled, but Mr. Trump later wrote on Twitter that he had canceled it, “based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia.”
Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting….82.1K4:34 PM – Nov 29, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy36.3K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting….
….in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!60.1K4:34 PM – Nov 29, 2018Twitter Ads info and privacy27.1K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
The tensions flared as three Ukrainian vessels — two small gunboats and a tugboat — were trying to pass through the Kerch Strait, a narrow body of water that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. On Thursday, Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, the S.B.U., said Russia had firedon its ships from a fighter jet, a helicopter and from Coast Guard boats.
Since annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, Russia fully controls the strait militarily, though Ukraine contends that under the terms of a 2003 treaty, the two countries share sovereignty over the Sea of Azov with equal rights to pass in and out.
Ukrainian officials say Russia is disregarding that treaty and asserting control over the Sea of Azov and whittling away at Ukrainian sovereignty.
Russian officials say that is not the case, adding and that the episode on Sunday turned violent because the Ukrainian ships had failed to follow protocols for entering the strait, such as notifying the Russian Coast Guard in advance.