NATO issued a statement giving unconditional support to Ukraine in the deteriorating situation in the Azov Sea and Russian actions in the Kerch Strait, said NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu in a commentary for Evropeyska Pravda.
Lungescu stressed that NATO is closely monitoring developments in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait. “We are in contact with the Ukrainian authorities. We call for restraint and de-escalation.”
"NATO fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including its navigational rights in its territorial waters. We call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea, in accordance with international law,” the Alliance press secretary stated.
She recalled that at the Brussels Summit in July, NATO leaders expressed their support for Ukraine and made clear that Russia's ongoing militarization of the Crimea, the Black Sea and the Azov Sea poses further threats to Ukraine's independence and undermines the stability of the broader region.
The European Union called for Russia to restore freedom of movement and not to aggravate the situation in the Azov Sea. According to the recent information, six Ukrainian servicemen were injured as the result of the Russians’ aggression in the Black Sea.
The public relations center of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation stated that three Ukrainian Navy ships coming from the port of Berdyansk in the Azov Sea and heading for the Kerch Strait reversed course.
Earlier, the press-center of the Ukrainian Naval Forces Command stated that the Berdyansk and Nikopol, small, armored artillery boats were hit by enemy fire and lost their way and subsequently seized by Russia.