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Russia warns Ukraine against attempts to revise Sea of Azov status — Foreign Ministry

November 22, 2018, 4:54 UTC+3

The Russian Foreign Ministry urged Kiev "to refrain from any undertakings aimed at unilaterally establishing the state border in the Sea of Azov"

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Sea of Azov

Sea of Azov

© Ruslan Shamukov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 21./TASS/. Russia warns Ukraine against attempts to revise the current status of the Sea of Azov as they run counter to international law , the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Russian Federation is open to a constructive dialogue on the situation around the Sea of Azov and would like to warn Ukraine against the attempts that go against international law to revise the current status of the Sea of Azov as national waters of the two states," the ministry stressed.

"With this in view, we urge Kiev to refrain from any undertakings aimed at unilaterally establishing the state border in the Sea of Azov," the ministry said.

Russia warns that "responsibility for possible further deterioration of the situation in the Azov-Kerch Strait area is with Ukraine and other states supporting its provocative actions," the foreign ministry added.

Russia is not building up its military presence in the Azov Sea, the ministry reiterated. "Despite statements by Kiev and Brussels, Russia is not expanding its military presence in the Azov Sea. The forces dispatched in that area are mainly used for guarding the Crimean Bridge," the ministry noted.

Inspections of ships in the Sea of Azov-Kerch Strait water area are legitimate and not discriminatory, the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say. "Activities of Russian border guards are not discriminatory. A total of 48% of the ships (720 of 1,492) inspected in April-October 2018, were sailing to Russian ports or from them," the ministry said. "Contrary to Ukraine’s statements, Russian-flagged ships are also inspected," the ministry added.

"Meanwhile, the actions of Ukraine, which has announced establishing a naval base in Berdyansk and systematically closes certain areas of the Sea of Azov for gun practices, are aimed exactly at militarizing the Sea of Azov," the ministry went on to say.

"Russia regrets that the confrontational course of Kiev aimed at destabilizing Russian-Ukrainian relations finds support among several states, including EU member countries. Russia strongly denies any accusations directed against it concerning aggressive and unlawful acts in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait," the foreign ministry noted.

"Since the reunification of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, these territories are an inalienable part of the Russian Federation, which exercises its sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the sea areas adjacent to the Crimean peninsula in line with international law," the ministry said.

"The activity taking place there is in conformity with international law, is aimed at ensuring national security and is proportionate to the threats coming from extremists, including Ukrainian ones, against Russia," the ministry summed up.

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