Russian naval war games continue in the Black Sea near Crimea where relations with Ukraine are worsening, with Kiev's U.N. envoy calling for Security Council meeting to help ease hostilities. Mana Rabiee reports.
Russian naval war games in the Black Sea. Practice, says Moscow, to repel underwater attacks by "saboteurs" in Crimea, which Russia annexed from neighboring Ukraine in 2014. Both sides have stepped up their military presence in the area, amid rising tensions. Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses Ukraine of sponsoring armed agents in Crimea. To provoke a new conflict, he says, between the two nations over the peninsula. But Ukraine rejects those allegations outright, demanding proof. In New York, its U.N. ambassador, Volodymyr Yelchenko, called for a closed door Security Council meeting to de-escalate hostilities ..starting with Russia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N. VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO SAYING: "We're talking altogether about more than 40,000 of Russian troops both inside Ukraine, including Crimea….. This is not a coincidence. These numbers may reflect some very bad intentions and this is the last thing we would like to happen." Putin's rhetoric against Kiev hasn't been this aggressive since Ukraine's armed conflict with Russian-backed separatists two years ago. ..and despite a shaky peace agreement in the region, Ukrainian forces are now back at their highest state of combat readiness.