Petro Poroshenko said the incident between Ukrainian and Russian ships near the Crimean Peninsula over the weekend was an “extraordinary event” in the context of Moscow’s recent “aggression”.
The president has brought martial law into effect and put Ukraine’s armed forces on full-combat alert in response to the explosive skirmish in the Black Sea on Sunday.
He accused Russian troops of attacking three Ukrainian ships “in large numbers” as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov.
He said, because Russian military activity and tank deployments have “dramatically increased” along Ukraine’s borders, the armed forces have been ramping up preparations “in case of a large-scale ground invasion”.
“And that is why I don’t want anybody to think that it’s a trifle,” Poroshenko said in an interview with Ukrainian media.
“The country is under the threat of a full-scale war with the Russian Federation.”
“We will fight for our freedom, we will fight for our democracy, we will fight for our soil,” Petro Poroshenko told NBC News on Tuesday evening.
The president, who took office in 2014, told CNN that US secretary of state Mike Pompeo had pledged “full assistance, including military assistance” to Ukraine over the Black Sea drama.
Meanwhile, US president Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of a scheduled meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina this weekend over the Ukraine-Russian maritime fracas.