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Ukrainian opposition demands president’s resignation following Kerch Strait incident

November 26, 2018, 17:31 UTC+3 KIEV

On November 25, three warships of the Ukrainian Navy illegally crossed the Russian state border at sea

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Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko

© AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

KIEV, November 26. /TASS/. The resignation of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko is the only way to prevent rising tensions following the Kerch Strait incident, Ukraine’s parliamentary group "Opposition Platform For Life" said in a statement on Monday.

"Today, the priority task is to prevent rising tensions and protect the people. In order to achieve this goal, there is a need to dismiss all military officers involved in the Kerch Strait incident, which had put the lives and health of Ukrainian sailors in danger. We believe that ensuring President Poroshenko’s resignation and a new presidential election is the only way out of the situation," the statement reads.

The group also stressed that martial law declaration would not help resolve the crisis but will further deteriorate the political and economic situation in the country. "Taking advantage of the martial law declaration stunt, President Poroshenko seeks to usurp power and call off the upcoming presidential election that he is bound to lose. Martial law declaration will provide the current failed regime with an opportunity to mop up unwanted people, close down some media outlets and restrict freedom of expression, as well as the rights of Ukrainian citizens. The current regime has already gone bankrupt. They don’t have the right to bring the nation’s life to a halt over their lust for power and inability to resolve the armed conflict in the country’s east peacefully," the statement notes.

The group also called for launching an open and direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, which would also involve European Union members.

The group’s co-chair Yuri Boiko earlier called on Kiev and Moscow to come to the negotiating table where EU member states and institutions would act as mediators. "It is only possible to achieve peace through direct talks between us and Russia. We believe that EU institutions should act as mediators at an EU platform and the search for ways to prevent a tragedy - a war - should be conducted there," he said.

Kerch Strait incident

According to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), on Sunday morning, three ships from the Ukrainian Navy - the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu - illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters on Sunday night. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters. Three Ukrainian military servicemen suffered light wounds and were provided with medical assistance. A criminal investigation has been opened into the border incident.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s authorities have taken steps to declare martial law until January 25, 2019.

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