WASHINGTON, December 4. /TASS/. The U.S. intends to develop a common stance of NATO on the incident between the warships of Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait at the meeting at the level of foreign ministers of 29 NATO countries in Brussels on Tuesday.
This was announced on Monday by a high-ranking official of the US State Department at a briefing for journalists ahead of the visit of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Brussels.
The U.S. State Department also urged European allies to "show leadership" in this matter.
"We’ll have several sessions <...> on Ukraine and Georgia. In that session, we plan to build on recent U.S. statements pressing Russian leadership to release the detained crew members and ships that were taken into custody in the recent Kerch incident. We are calling on European allies to show leadership in tackling a problem that’s in Europe’s own backyard," he said.
"We’ve coordinated very closely over the last several days with European allies both in the NATO format and in the EU format, and right now we’re focused on sizing an allied alliance-wide response, having the right size response to what happened at the Kerch," the diplomat stressed.
"There’s a lot of things that the United States has done and will continue to do for the Ukrainians, but we want to make sure that we come out of this week with a unified position where we’re working with allies to have a holistic response," the representative of the US Department of State said.
This year’s last meeting at the level of foreign ministers of 29 NATO countries will be held in Brussels on Tuesday. The alliance's cooperation with Ukraine and Georgia in the context of the incident between the warships of Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait is one of the main topics on the agenda.
On November 25, three Ukrainian navy ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters later in the day. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters. Three Ukrainian military servicemen suffered light wounds and were provided with medical assistance. A criminal investigation has been opened into the border incident.
Moscow branded Kiev's stunt in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions.