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Austrian chancellor warns ‘no military solution’ to Kerch Strait standoff

The Austrian chancellor says there is a need to find a peaceful solution to the Kerch Strait incident
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz AP Photo/Ronald Zak
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz
© AP Photo/Ronald Zak

VIENNA, November 29. /TASS/. There is a need to find a peaceful solution to the Kerch Strait incident, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Thursday.

According to the Austria Press Agency, Kurz called on Russia "to release the Ukrainian navy sailors and return the ships to Ukraine." "It is important to abide by international law and maintain free navigation, as well as to ensure Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, so we will not recognize the annexation of Crimea, which is a violation of international law," the Austrian chancellor added.

"One thing must be clear: there can be no military solution to the conflict," Kurz said, adding that as a neighbor country, Austria was interested in a stable Ukraine.

Kerch Strait incident

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 slammed the incident as a provocation. The European Union and NATO called for de-escalation, while Kiev declared a 30-day martial law starting from November 28.