The Sea of Azov, near the disputed Crimean Peninsula, has been a point of contention between Russia and Ukraine. In late November 2018, tensions increased as Russia’s navy attacked three Ukrainian Ships and captured 24 sailors. Russia received immediate criticism from Western leaders, many of whom are debating which measures should be taken to punish Russia. However, Putin denies the actions as aggressive, instead claiming the Ukrainian ships were in Russian waters. Trump canceled a meeting with Russian President Putin at the G20 summit in response to a Russian refusal to release the captured sailors and ships. Ukraine is demanding other Western nations take action in an attempt to deter future Russian aggression.
Those who support imposing sanctions argue that Russia should be punished for attacking three seemingly non-aggressive ships. They point to the success that previous sanctions have had by impeding Russian economic growth. Additionally, this side argues that imposing economic sanctions are an easy way for a group of countries to show solidarity with Ukraine. Such unity would demonstrate that future Russian aggression would not be tolerated. However, some argue that further investigation ought to be completed before Russia is punished. President Putin claims that the Ukrainian ships were in Russian waters and has accused the Ukrainian government of purposefully escalating a crisis to drum up political support before an upcoming election. What do you think? Should the U.S. impose additional sanctions against Russia in response to its capture of Ukrainian sailors?