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Ukraine to continue using Kerch Strait despite Russia's threats, - Defence Minister

According to Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak, attack on the Ukrainian ships in Azov Sea was a provocation
13:24, 10 January 2019

Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

Ukraine will continue carrying out passages through the Kerch Strait and sending vessels to Azov Sea ports despite the existing danger, as Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said, Ukurier reported.

“There are still huge threats from the Russian side on the land border and in Azov Sea, its troops are deployed in occupied Crimea. But I assure such passages will be organized. There will be the twentieth and the hundredth passages. And always, because the Azov Sea is Ukrainian as well, as Mariupol and Berdyansk – our ports where a huge part of our economy is concentrated. We will not refuse from our right to pass through the Kerch Strait whenever we need. I hope our international partners will manage to convince Russia to comply with the international agreements,” the Minister stressed.

Related: Ukraine sends ECHR full statement against Russia's actions during Azov crisis

He also noted that Russia tried to provoke the Ukrainian servicemen and get a reason for further large-scale aggression.

“An open attack at our military vessels in the neutral waters was unacceptable for us. In my opinion, Russia was waiting for our guys to open fire to use it for a large-scale aggression. It prepared a large amount of equipment and personnel on the border with Ukraine. Our sailors were acting without violation of any convention or international treaty. Martial law became protection for the country from possible further interference,” Poltorak said.

Related: During Azov crisis, Ukrainian ships were shelled from large-caliber cannon

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