Russia will not decide how the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait are to be used, because Ukraine will not allow this, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told CNN Turk in an interview.
According to the president’s press service, he clarified that all available legal mechanisms would be used to ensure this.
“We will never recognize the occupation of the Sea of Azov, which Russia is trying to do now. We will never recognize the occupation of the Kerch Strait. And we insist on international law, we will use the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Because the Sea of Azov is the economic activity zone of multi-million agglomerations in the east of my country. I hate the idea of Russia deciding for sovereign and independent Ukraine exactly how we are to use the Sea of Azov. We will not allow this,” he said.
Poroshenko drew attention to the fact that Russia recently attacked Ukrainian ships in neutral waters.
“We have video, radio intercepts and satellite images – we have everything. In the neutral waters of the Black Sea, not far from Turkey, by the way. And Russia is talking about provocation? These are open international waters, these are internal Ukrainian waters. There is international law and a bilateral agreement, in which the Kerch Strait is a shared strait, which belongs both to Ukraine and to Russia. And this was only a planned transfer from Odessa to Mariupol for the rotation of these two small military vessels. They have no additional weaponry, additional crew members, nothing,” the Ukrainian president remarked.
The head of state noted that Russia has not yet said by whom or why the order to attack was given. In any case, Russia is legally responsible for it. The captured Ukrainian crew members are prisoners of war, and Moscow is obligated to return them. The whole world demands it.
“The situation is getting worse,” Poroshenko lamented.
The president also demanded an explanation of why Russia has stationed a new S-400 anti-air defense system and an anti-ship system in occupied Kerch and Feodosia.
“This is completely unacceptable. We will not allow the Black Sea to be militarized. And in this situation we must be ready to respond,” Poroshenko resumed.
On November 25, Russian border guard ships attacked and captured two Ukrainian artillery boats and a tugboat not far from the Kerch Strait. Russia has accused the 24 sailors of violating the Russian border. During the aggression, the Russians opened fire with a large caliber gun, firing roughly 1,200 rounds.