Russia’s Foreign Minister spokesperson Maria explained the detentions and searches of ships in the Sea of Azov, which headed to Ukrainian ports, as “ensuring security” and as its “sovereign right for inland waters."
"Russia's actions to inspect ships are aimed only at ensuring security in the waters of the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait. They do not contradict any international laws that apply to the inland water areas. Other states' practices of exercising sovereign rights in respect to inland waters unequivocally confirm Russia’s right to carry out such actions,“ said Zakharova.
At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman admitted that Western countries, in particular, the United States, said that the Russian border guards ignore the international norms and accuse Russia of continuing to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.
Zakharova reminded that the "international law and the status of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait are defined by bilateral international treaties. Namely the agreements between Russia and Ukraine on the Russian-Ukrainian state border on January 28, 2003, and the agreement between Russia and Ukraine on cooperation regarding the use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait dated December 24, 2003 ".
"This document confirms that I quote:" The Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait have historically been the inland waters of Russia and Ukraine, “said Zakharova.
Earlier, the Land Forces commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Popko said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine had strengthened their military presence in the Azov sea. On September 6, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine decided to strengthen the naval military presence in the region.
In mid-May, after the completion of the construction of the automobile part of the Kerch Bridge, Russia reportedly relocated sea vessels, including the military ships of the Caspian fleet to the Azov Sea. At the same time, Moscow referred to the need to strengthen security around the strategic facility.
Since then, Russia has detained more than 148 Ukrainian and foreign merchant ships and interrogated crew members and other people who were on such vessels.