RUSSIA CONTRADICTS UKRAINIAN ALLEGATIONS ON KERCH STRAIT CLASH - TERMS IT BORDER VIOLATION IN CONNIVANCE WITH WESTERN STATES

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad (Press Release) Russia Embassy to Pakistan has issued a statement regarding standoff with Ukraine in Kerch Strait at the end of last month. The statement is to clear the Russian position while Ukrainian side has already accused Russia of violation of International Waters in Black Sea and Azov few days ago. Ukraine also held Russian Authorities responsible for a clash between the two rivals resulting into few injured and the others detained by Russian side. Russia has issued contradiction of Ukrainian allegations. Russia claims that the strait is not international water but the part of Russia.The statement says that;

"On November 25 three warships of Ukrainian Navy en route from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea crossed the state border of the Russian Federation in its territorial waters in the Kerch Strait. Radio requests from Russian border guards were deliberately ignored by the Ukrainian crew, which their ship gun covers removed. After due warning signals, the Russian Side had to use weapons to compel these ships to stop. The Ukrainian military vessels were then detained and escorted to the port of Kerch. Three Ukrainian servicemen received minor injuries and were provided proper medical assistance.

A large amount of firearms and machine guns with munitions was discovered onboard those warships so it is obvious that the incident could entail serious consequences. A criminal case was initiated on border violation charges against their crew. Sea traffic was temporarily closed in the Kerch Strait to civilian vessels for security purposes.

On November 26, the Kerch-Yenikale Canal in the Kerch Strait was reopened for the movement of civilian ships. Navigation there has returned to normal.

The detained Ukrainian servicemen are now in the custody of the Russian federal Security Service. The are giving testimony and one of them has already confessed that the actions of the Ukrainian side were a clear provocation. The crew appeared to be specially instructed by the authorities in Kiev to act in exactly this way, deliberately disobeying orders of the Russian border guards. Moreover, Mr. Vasily Gritsak, head of the Security service of Ukraine, later confirmed that counter intelligence officers were onboard these ships with special mission.

The Kerch Strait is internal waters of the Russian Federation and the passage through it is regulated by the Agreement between Russia and Ukraine, on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Straight of Kerch,2003, under which a relevant notification must be sent 48 hours before, followed by a confirmation 24 and 4 hours before respectively. This regime is motivated by the intensive sea traffic in the Kerch Strait and is needed to avoid various accidents like ship collision.

By their deliberately irresponsible actions the Ukrainian crew endangered navigation in this area. In this connection, we believe that Ukrainian Navy not only violated bilateral agreements between our two countries, but also the articles 19 and 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which define the right of a coastal state to ensure maritime security.

Until November 25 the rules of passage through the Kerch Strait has been well known to our Ukrainian partners and this was specially confirmed by the detained Ukrainian military sailors. Taking into consideration that these rules have been strictly observed by them previously, the Russian Federation considers that such a hostile actions of the Ukrainian authorities have been planned in advance with absolute connivance of Western States.

This is a deliberate provocation aimed at aggravation of Russian-Ukrainian differences and creation of additional pretexts for deepening of anti-Russia sanctions.

It is highly regrettable that while promoting anti-Russia information campaign among its own people, the Ukrainian authorities turned a blind eye on attacks on Russian diplomatic mission on its territory. One of plenty such hostile actions took place on November 27 in Kiev when Ukrainian nationalists , with connivance of Ukrainian police, have attacked the Russian Embassy, burned down a diplomatic vehicle and threatened to storm the diplomatic mission.

In addition to that, nationalists threw flares at the building of the Russian Consulate General in Kharkov and burned tires in front of the Russian Consulate General in Lvov. Therefore, the Russian Federation believes that inaction of the Ukrainian Side is highly condemnable and has no excuses as it is must ensure unconditional immunity of Russian Embassy and Consulates in Ukraine in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and bring those responsible for attacks to justice."

01 Dec 2018