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Kiev’s provocation in Kerch Strait geared to whip up tensions — Russian diplomat

Russia's OSCE envoy Alexander Lukasehvich said the actions of the Ukrainian military violated the United Nations Charter and norms of international law

VIENNA, November 26. /TASS/. The incident between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait was Kiev’s deliberately planned provocation geared to whip up tensions in the Black Sea, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday.

"Obviously, the November 25 incident in the Black Sea was a thoroughly planned provocation that fits into Kiev’s deliberate policy towards whipping up tensions in this region," he said at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. "It is all geared to artificially aggravate Russian-Ukrainian differences, to create more pretexts to promote the idea of further anti-Russian sanctions."

He noted that the actions of the Ukrainian military violated the United Nations Charter and norms of international law, including Articles 19 and 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that guarantee a littoral state’s right to safeguard security of its offshore zone, as well as the rules of peaceful passage through Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea.

"We consider such steps as violation of Russia’s sovereignty. These illegal actions force Russian border guards to use force," he said.

In violation of the rules of passage through Russia’s territorial sea and the Kerch Strait, three warships of the Ukrainian Navy crossed Russia’s state border on November 25. The Russian side had to use weapons to compel the ships to stop. Three Ukrainian servicemen were lightly wounded. They received medical assistance. The ships were detained and escorted to the port of Kerch. A criminal case was initiated on border violation charges.

The Russian side described the incident as a provocation. The Ukrainian authorities declared martial law. The European Union and NATO, in turn, have called for de-escalation of the situation.