GENEVA, November 28./TASS/. Kiev’s provocation in the Kerch Strait was staged in an attempt to settle internal problems of Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis.
"Our friends were interested to learn about the incident in the Black Sea, not in the Sea of Azov, when Ukrainian naval ships attempted to enter the Kerch-Yenikale Canal in violation of safety regulations in effect," the Russian diplomat said.
"We drew attention of our colleagues to the documents that were made public after Russian border guards had inspected the non-compliant ships, from where it follows that it was a premeditated provocation with an eye to a scandal, with a view to achieving geopolitical goals and solving internal problems facing the Kiev regime," the foreign minister added.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on November 25 that the Ukrainian warships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu had breached the Russian state border on Sunday morning and later attempted to carry out illegal maneuvers in Russia’s territorial waters later. The Ukrainian vessels ignored the legitimate demands of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet to immediately halt, and stop performing dangerous maneuvers. As a result of blatantly disregarding the orders, a chase involving some gunfire ensued in order to stop the Ukrainian ships, which were detained in Russian territorial waters.
Moscow branded Kiev’s maneuvers in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions.
Following the incident, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko on Wednesday signed into law a bill on the introduction of martial law, Martial law is to be introduced in the regions of Vinnitsa, Lugansk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson and in the internal waters of Ukraine in the Azov-Kerch area.