BRUSSELS, November 15. /TASS/. Russia has no place to boost its military presence in the Sea of Azov in response to the buildup of Ukrainian forces in the area, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said on Thursday.
"We have no military bases in Azov, warships are deployed there primarily to ensure safety of the Crimean Bridge," he said. ‘We plan no military buildup in Azov."
At the same time, Karasin added that Ukraine was creating an "alarming situation" in the region by voicing "plans to set up a naval base in Berdyansk" and holding "regular naval exercises, which block the Azov Sea zone."
"This has been confirmed," he continued. "That’s why the situation in dangerous, and Kiev keeps fuelling tensions."
"Kiev’s hysteric and shameless allegations have no factual basis," the ambassador said. ‘The access to the Sea of Azov and the navigation via the Kerch-Yenikale Canal remain absolutely unchanged since 2014. All claims of inspection-related delays… have no factual basis."
Karasin said he delivered all this information to Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Helga Schmid when they met on Thursday to discuss "the alarming situation, created by the Kiev government’s allegations regarding the Sea of Azov, [where] attempts of militarization are being carried out for contrived reasons."
"We gave reasons supporting our stance, which says that this is an artificially created scheme, aimed at escalating the situation in the Sea of Azov, and that Russia’s conduct, in fact, is predictable and in line with the international law," Karasin said.
"We agreed to exchange information and statistics on the issue in order to expose the forces in Kiev who are trying to artificially create a new international problem in the Sea of Azov and in the Kerch Strait," he added.
Earlier this year, Ukraine announced its plans to boost its military presence in the Sea of Azov, bounded in the north by Ukraine and in the south by Russia. Apart from setting up a naval base, which is expected to start operations by the end of the year, Kiev has been boosting its air forces, ground troops and border guards in the region.