MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of orchestrating a naval “provocation” in the Black Sea at the weekend in order to boost his popularity ratings before an election next year.
Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews on Sunday over what it said was their illegal entry into Russian waters, something Ukraine denies.
Putin, speaking at a financial forum in Moscow, said the West was ready to forgive Ukrainian politicians their shortcomings because it bought into the anti-Russian narrative Kiev is promoting. He said the Ukrainian vessels had clearly been in the wrong.
Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Daria Korsunskaya, Gleb Stolyarov, Oksana Kobzeva and Polina Nikolskaya; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Christian Lowe