BERLIN/KERCH, Crimea (Reuters) – Europe may need to impose tougher sanctions against Moscow following Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews at the weekend, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday.
Norbert Roettgen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, made the statement as Russia’s rouble recovered some of its losses from the previous day.
Markets - Developments - Restrictions - Russia - Economy
Markets are sensitive to developments that could trigger new Western restrictions and weaken Russia’s economy.
The U.S. State Department, the European Union, Britain, France, Poland, Denmark, and Canada have all condemned what they called Russian aggression after it opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian navy ships near Russian-annexed Crimea on Sunday. Moscow accuses the Ukrainian vessels of intruding into its territorial waters, which Kiev denies.
Merkel - Voice - EU - Decision - Sanctions
Merkel, an important voice in any future EU decision to impose more sanctions on Russia, on Monday spoke by phone to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and said the situation needed to be de-escalated.
One option for the EU would be to add new companies or individuals to the bloc’s existing sanctions.
Relations - Russia - Annexation - Crimea - Backing
With relations still raw after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its backing for a pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, the incident risks pushing the two countries towards a wider conflict.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday accused Ukraine of deliberately organizing what it called a provocation in the Black Sea by sending its ships through the Russian-controlled Kerch Strait with no advance warning and ordering them to ignore Russian orders to stop.
Action - United - States - EU - Pretext
It said the Ukrainian action was coordinated with the United States and the EU to “create a pretext to ramp up sanctions against Russia”.
The Kerch Strait separates Crimea from...
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