Kyiv: Ukraine insists on a permanent international mission in the Kerch Strait

Ukraine insists on a permanent observation mission in the Kerch Strait, and Russia does not agree with this, Interfax Ukraine quoted Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin as saying. 

“We are now talking about making this mission permanent and observing both from space and from water in order to know exactly what Russia is doing and not doing there... We need to get a permanent mission. Russia refuses it,” the minister told reporters in Munich. 

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister noted that he had discussed the issue of the mission with the French and German sides. 

“They understood that if they send a couple of Germans and a couple of French to occupied Kerch, it will not be a mission,”  Klimkin said. 

At the end of January, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had proposed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to arrange a one-time visit of experts to the Kerch Strait. At the same time, the Kremlin opposed the multilateral monitoring mission near the Kerch Strait. 

On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.

US President Donald Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait incident. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker similarly called off his scheduled negotiation session with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.

Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in December that Ukraine had invited its international partners to take part in a passage of naval ships from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian media warned that this could “aggravate the situation”.

The EU intends to introduce personal sanctions against eight Russians in connection with the detention of Ukrainian sailors.

  Ukraine, EU, Kerch Strait, Russia, Klimkin