Lithuania expands sanctions against Russia for aggression in the Kerch Strait

Lithuania expanded “the blacklist” of Russian citizens in connection with the incident in the Kerch Strait.

The country’s Migration Department has added twenty people to the “black list”, reports the news agency BNS.

Earlier the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry proposed the introduction of restrictive measures against those responsible for aggression in the Kerch Strait. The Ministry stated that Russia’s actions grossly violated international law and represented a threat to international security.

The head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini said that the incident involving Russia in the Kerch Strait was a violation of the basic principles of the OSCE and demanded that Russia release the Ukrainian sailors.

On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.

Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdiansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.

On November 28, the Kremlin-controlled court of Simferopol placed the Ukrainian sailors under 2 months of arrest – until January 25, 2019.

  Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Kerch Strait