Lithuania intends to impose sanctions against Russia for aggression in the Black Sea and Kerch Strait

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed imposing individual sanctions against those responsible for Russia's aggressive actions in the Kerch Strait and the Black Sea, reports the ministry’s press service.

"On December 6, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania appealed to the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania with a proposal to include in the national list of undesirable persons those who directly participated in the act of aggression against Ukrainian vessels and their crew in the Kerch Strait and the Black Sea on November 25, as well as representatives of the military leadership of the Russian Federation who are responsible for this act, " said the statement.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry considers the actions of these individuals to be a gross violation of international law, which pose a serious threat to international and national security of Lithuania.

The report mentions that the main Lithuanian diplomatic department continues consultations with other members of the international community regarding taking necessary countermeasures against Russian aggression on the international level.

Earlier, the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, said that the incident involving Russia in the Kerch Strait area violated the general principles of the OSCE and requested that the Russian Federation 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, Linas Linkevičius, Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Kerch Strait, Crimea