Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has called for harsher sanctions from the EU and Germany against Russia, following a flare up of tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
“Russia is an aggressor and an occupier,’’ Groysman told the Friday edition of German newspaper Die Welt, adding that the latest escalation proved this.
On Sunday, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimea Peninsula, a territory it annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The Russian coastguard opened fire and then captured the Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
Groysman also criticised Nord Stream 2, a planned gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany, asserting that it drove Europe towards dependence on Russia.
“It is not just harmful for Ukraine, but for the whole continent,’’ Groysman told the paper.
Report says Ukraine is set to lose billions of dollars in transit fees as the gas corridor does not pass through its territory.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, however, warned on Thursday that the pipeline issue should not be mixed up with the Crimea tensions.
“Those are two different areas,’’ Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told public broadcaster ARD.