The Russian Federation will not force Ukraine to refuse from its legal right of the passage through Kerch Strait, as 112 Ukraine reported citing Defense Minister of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak.
“One of the tasks set by Russia, when it organized the provocation in Kerch Strait was to provoke us to the response, to make us shell and use this possibility to begin open aggression against Ukraine. The second aim was to make us to refuse from the passage through Kerch Strait and Azov Sea and actually to hold the annexation of the Sea of Azov. But we will never agree on such step. We will not give over any piece of our land,” Poltorak said.
He emphasized that Ukraine will not refuse from its legal right in accordance with all international commitments of the maritime law, international treaties to pass through Kerch Strait.
Earlier Poltorak stated that Ukraine will continue carrying out passages through the Kerch Strait and sending vessels to Azov Sea ports despite the existing danger.
On November 25, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov.
21 Ukrainian sailors have been delivered to Lefortovo remand center in Moscow, three others are in the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison, also in the Russian capital. On December 3, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.
On December 26, Crimean Supreme Court left all Ukrainian sailors under arrest.
On January 15, the Ukrainian sailors refused to testify in Lefortovo court, where they face an extension of the sentence term.
As it was reported, Russian Security Service asked to hold a hearing on the case of the Ukrainian POW in camera.
On January 16, Lefortovo court has extended the arrest period for all Ukrainian sailors who suffered the attack of the Russian Navy in the Kerch Strait in November.