Kremlin denies Ukrainian allegations of Russian aggression


Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov answers questions from reporters. (Photo: Agencies)

The Kremlin denied allegations by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Monday that the recent seizure of Ukrainian naval ships proved Russia's plans to take Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov.

"This is an absolutely absurd statement. Actually it is another attempt to somehow provoke tensions," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Last week, Poroshenko told German Funke Media Group that Moscow was allegedly planning to seize two Ukrainian ports to build a land corridor between the insurgent Ukrainian region of Donbass and Crimea, which was incorporated into Russia in 2014 following a local referendum.

Peskov said Poroshenko used this statement to boost his ratings ahead of the presidential election in March 2019.

The spokesman also rejected Kiev's allegations that Russia was blocking traffic to and from Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, saying that navigation has continued as normal except for occasional suspensions because of bad weather.

He also commented on Poroshenko's statement that he could not reach Russian President Vladimir Putin during and after the Kerch Strait incident on Nov. 25, when Russian forces shot and seized three Ukrainian naval ships citing their violation of the Russian border in the Black Sea.

"I can only confirm that there really has not been a telephone conversation between Putin and Poroshenko since the incident. Currently, as far as I know, no such a conversation is planned for days to come," he said.

US President Donald Trump canceled his meeting with Putin, initially scheduled for Saturday during Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina, due to the Kerch Strait incident