On Saturday, 29th of December, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, announced a new ban on 51 Ukrainian goods exported to Russia. According to the Prime Minister, the ban was introduced in response to sanctions imposed on Russian exports to Ukraine.
The ban which focused on industrial goods comes a day after the Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko signed a law making it illegal for unauthorized foreign vessels to sail in Ukrainian waters, as well as expanding the geographical scope of Ukraine’s territorial waters. Russia has seen the measure as an assault on its rights to use waters bordering with Ukraine.
In November this year, Russia intercepted and seized three Ukrainian gunboats which were sailing from the Black Sea port of Odessa to Mariupol in the Sea of Azov. Russia annexed Crimea, formerly a Ukrainian territory in 2014.
According to Ukrainian authorities Russia opened fire on the vessels, before its special forces stormed them. Between three and six Ukrainians were injured. Ukraine said it was a Russian “act of aggression”. Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.
The deteriorating relations between Russia and Ukraine reflects the dangers of Putin’s geo-strategic policy tocontrol over Russia’s backyard, formerly Soviet countries, fending off at whatever economic and diplomatic cost, any measures taken by these countries to embrace western Europe.