U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker stated that Russia intended to have sole control over the access to the Ukrainian ports, as Ukrinform reported.
“I think, this is the question of access to Mariupol for Ukrainians. Russia claims a unilateral right to control this access, this is the problem. It doesn’t mean that Russia will perform another attack on the land,” Volker said answering the question whether Russia would take another shot to create a land corridor to Crimea.
Volker noted that he would be surprised if Russians would take this step. The attempts to control sea waters cause enough concern.
The representative of the State Department reminded that the U.S. and partners do not recognize Crimea’s annexation as they do not recognize that these waters belong to Russia solely.
“Russia has to respect and obligate the agreement of 2003,” he said.
Volker added that he regards the extension of the current negotiations format pointless, despite the recent events. Washington supports German and French sides for their leading role, they are working hard in the “Normandy format”. Neither Germany nor France is the problem of this format. It is Russia, which “is not ready to get this talks seriously”.
As we reported earlier the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy acted aggressively against 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.
Kyiv demanded from Moscow to immediately provide the medical service to the wounded sailors and provide them urgent return to the Ukrainian territory. According to the Naval Forces of Ukraine, six sailors are wounded and two of them were in the critical condition.
Russian Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova named the exact number of the detained Ukrainian servicemen – 24. Moskalkova added that “procedural actions connected with the establishment of the facts of the events. If a military vessel enters the waters, certainly, this is a violation of the borders, this is a socially dangerous act, which demands a special qualification and procedure.”
Later it was reported that the Ukrainian servicemen taken captive in Kerch Strait are being forced to give false testimony. The Commander of Ukraine’s Navy noted that the lawyers have already met with these servicemen.