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Russian embassy blasts May’s claims of Kerch Strait 'aggression' as unacceptable

Moscow described the incident as a provocation
UK Prime Minister Theresa May AP Photo/Alastair Grant
UK Prime Minister Theresa May
© AP Photo/Alastair Grant

LONDON, December 4. /TASS/. Russia’s Embassy in the United Kingdom has slammed as unacceptable the claims voiced by UK Prime Minister Theresa May that Russia carried out an act of aggression in the Kerch Strait, a spokesman for the diplomatic mission told reporters on Tuesday.

"We cannot accept these accusations. It’s well-known that on November 25 the Ukrainian Navy’s vessels blatantly violated the international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and also the rules of peaceful passage in Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea," the Russian diplomat said. "These illegal steps forced the Russian border guards to use force, and thanks to their restraint and high professionalism deaths were prevented."

The embassy stressed that the United Kingdom was informed of all details of the incident and it is surprising that the UK prime minister makes these assessments despite this knowledge.

Speaking at the House of Commons, the lower house of the UK parliament, on Monday, May labeled the incident in the Kerch Strait an example of Russia’s "act of aggression." She noted that London would discuss with the EU possible new sanctions against Moscow.

On November 25, three warships of the Ukrainian Navy violated the rules of passage through Russia's territorial waters while en route from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea. 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 launched on border violation charges.

Moscow described the incident as a provocation. The Ukrainian authorities declared martial law. The EU and NATO called for de-escalation of the situation.