The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine claimed that the agreement between Ukraine and Russia of 2003, which addresses the cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, does not give Russia the right to carry out discriminatory inspections of vessels traveling to Ukrainian ports, reads the message of the Ukrainian MFA.
‘We once again observe free reading and interpretation of the norms of bilateral and multilateral agreements by Russia. None of the provisions of the 2003 treaty gives Russia the right to carry out discriminatory and long-lasting inspections of vessels traveling to the Ukrainian ports,’ reads the message.
The Ministry noted that Russia has no right to interfere with the freedom of navigation. The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine also expressed gratitude to Ukraine’s partners for a clear and consistent position regarding the condemnation of violations of international law by Russia in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.
‘Ukraine will continue to remain faithful to the UN Charter and the norms of international law and will continue to defend its rights in arbitration proceedings on the violation by Russia of the UN Convention on the Law of Sea in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and in the Kerch Strait,’ the mission added.
Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov said that the actions of the Russian Federation in the Sea of Azov fit into the agreement with Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait of 2003.
Over the past three months, Russia's activity in the Sea of Azov has increased significantly. The Russians do not allow commercial vessels going to and leaving Ukrainian ports to pass through the Kerch Strait without hindrance.
Moreover, in July, Russia detained 148 ships for inspection in the Sea of Azov. Due to this, President Poroshenko entrusted the Defence Minister, the Head of the General Staff, and Command of Ukraine’s Naval Forces to take measures to stop Russian provocations concerning the blockade of Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov.