The Latest: Hungary’s Orban says he’s siding with Ukraine
MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Russia-Ukraine tensions (all times local):
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban says his country is supporting Ukraine in the latest escalation of tensions with Russia.
Speaking through a translator in Prague after meeting his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis on Friday, Orban says: “The Hungarian position is clear. We are a pro-Ukrainian government.”
But he added that “The peculiarity of the situation is that there is a Ukraine-friendly government in Hungary, while in Ukraine there is an anti-Hungarian government.”
Orban’s statement comes amid a dispute between Ukraine and his country over the rights of the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. But Orban said his support for Ukraine is not going to change.
Orban is considered to have one of the best relationships with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s among European Union politicians.
Russia’s foreign ministry says that Moscow is not going to mirror the travel ban that Ukraine has imposed on Russian men.
Ukrainian officials announced earlier on Friday that all Russian men aged between 16 and 60 will be barred from entering Ukraine for the 30-day duration of martial law. The statement is the latest step in the escalation of the long-simmering conflict between Russia and Ukraine which began in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters that Russia is not planning to impose similar measures on Ukrainians. Zakharova blamed the Ukrainian government for implementing a policy that hurts ordinary people.
The Ukrainian intelligence agency is searching the home of the father superior of Kiev’s biggest and oldest monastery which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Ihor Guskov, chief of staff of the SBU intelligence agency, told reporters on Friday that its officers are searching the home of Father Pavlo, who leads the Pechersk Monastery in Kiev. He said the cleric is suspected of “inciting hatred.”
The Ukrainian church, which has been part of the Russian Orthodox Church for centuries, moved close to forming an independent church — fueled by the conflict with Russia Ukraine’s Orthodox communities earlier this year.
There are currently three Orthodox communities in Ukraine including two breakaway churches. Ukrainian authorities sought to portray the Russian Orthodox clerics in Ukraine as supporting separatists.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have escalated since last weekend, when Russian border guards opened fire on three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea and captured their crews.
Ukraine’s president says that the country has barred Russian men between 16 and 60 from traveling to the country.
The move comes as the long-simmering conflict between the two nations escalated in the Black Sea on Sunday. Russian border guards opened fire on and captured three Ukrainian vessels and their 24-member crew.
President Petro Poroshenko tweeted Friday that the restrictions on Russian travelers have been taken in order to prevent the Russians from forming “private armies” fighting on Ukrainian soil.
A Russian government-appointed ombudswoman says the three commanders of the Ukrainian vessels captured near the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula last weekend are being transferred to Moscow.
The long-simmering conflict between Russia and Ukraine bubbled over Sunday when Russian border guards opened fired on three Ukrainian vessels in the Black Sea. The Russians then captured the 24-member crew.
Russia says the Ukrainians had violated its border while Ukraine says its ships were acting in line with international maritime rules.
The Tass news agency on Friday quoted Russian government-appointed ombudswoman Lyudmila Lubina as saying that the vessels’ commanders are being transferred to Moscow for interrogation. The other 21 have also been transferred away from Crimea, but it wasn’t immediately clear to where.
A Crimea court earlier this week ruled to keep the Ukrainian seamen behind bars for two months pending the investigation.