Russian officials declared on Monday that Ukranian ships ignored warning shots on the Black Sea forcing Russian vessels to open fire and seize three Ukrainian navy ships.
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Ukrainian lawmakers voted to introduce martial law in the border areas after Russia detained 24 of its sailors in the international passageway between the Black Sea and the Sea of Avzov.
Andrey Kostin, VTB Bank Chairman and President, said the incident on the Kerch Strait was less about Russian aggression and more to do with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko securing his political career.
“This has nothing to do with Russian aggression,” Kostin said during an exclusive interview with FOX Business’ Liz Claman. “That was just a provocation that is quite clear to the benefit Mr. Poroshenko political aims.”
The simmering European conflict over the Kerch Strait skirmish may be ratcheting up tensions ahead of the week’s important meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 in Argentina.
Trump expressed his discontent over the clash between Russia and Ukraine telling reporters, “We do not like what's happening either way. And hopefully it will get straightened out.”
VTB Bank is Russia’s second largest financial institution and both the bank and its president are under U.S. sanctions.
“I am a banker. I always conducted good and fair business with all American banks,” Kostin said.