Naval standoff: Vladimir Putin blames Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Russia is sending a new division of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to Crimea in a new sign of heightened tensions. Here one of the systems is carried during the Victory Day military parade Russia held in May

"Putin wants the old Russian empire back", he said.

But Merkel recently acknowledged its "political dimensions" and said Ukraine must continue to be a conduit for Russian gas sold to western Europe.

"What were they (Russian forces) supposed to do?"

At an investment forum in Moscow, Putin said the Kerch Strait incident was "without doubt a provocation" orchestrated by Poroshenko, Russian state media reported. "They would do the same in your country".

In his first comments on Sunday's incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin charged that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instigated the confrontation to boost his standing in upcoming elections.

"The goal is simple - by placing a blockade on the Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov, Russia hopes to drive Ukraine out of our own territory - the territory that is ours in accordance with all relevant worldwide laws", the minister stressed.

The Kremlin said it still expected the Putin-Trump meeting to take place and played down the threat of cancellation, with foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov saying: "The meeting is equally needed by both sides".

The Ukrainian ships did not respond to the legitimate demands coming from the vessels of the Border Service of the Russian Security Service (FSB) and the Black Sea Fleet that had pursued them in order to stop them immediately and thwart their unsafe maneuvers.

Interfax news agency quoted Russia's human rights commissioner, Tatyana Moskalkova, as saying on November 26 that 24 Ukrainian sailors were being detained.

"We condemn this demonstration of barbarism and are multiplying our efforts to bring our boys home", Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said on Twitter after the court rulings.

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But a spokesman for the foreign ministry said the debate about further sanctions against Russian Federation over the conflict in Ukraine was premature.

It came at the end of a day when Ukraine and Russian Federation traded accusations about Sunday's standoff and Kiev's allies weighed in to condemn Moscow's behavior.

It has raised fears of a wider escalation - in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014 - and prompted worldwide calls for restraint.

Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and their crews on Sunday near Crimea, the Ukrainian region which Moscow annexed in 2014, over what it said was their illegal entry into Russian waters, which Ukraine denies.

One more of the systems would be joining three others already deployed in Crimea, they said.

It was unclear how it would be applied in the border areas and Poroshenko has suggested it is meant essentially as a preventative measure. "I count on the United States, I count on the American people", Poroshenko said.

Western governments have rallied behind Kiev in the dispute, accusing Russian Federation of illegally blocking access to the Sea of Azov and of taking military action without justification.

There have been some calls among European Union members for tougher sanctions against Russian Federation following the Kerch Strait incident. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded by accusing his counterpart of having a "sick imagination".

Trump has been briefed on the situation as he considers whether to cancel the Putin meeting but no decision has been made, White House officials said on Wednesday.

"I think we are at a crossroads", Xi said.

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