EU Demands Free Access Through Kerch Strait
The EU also expressed concerns over the lack of access by the OSCE SMM and the human rights abuses against Crimean Tatar people
Photo from Ukrinform-UATV
The EU condemns the systematic denial of OSCE SMM access to certain border areas in Donbas, which are controlled by Russian-backed militants, to Crimea, and the coastal areas east of Mariupol.
This statement was made by the European Union at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting today in Vienna, Ukrinform reports.
“We condemn the fact that observers systematically are not allowed to visit separate border areas controlled by the armed forces supported by Russia, the Crimean peninsula and the coastal areas east of Mariupol,” the statement said.
The EU condemned the Russian unwarranted use of force near the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, and called on the Russian authorities to release Ukrainian sailors and return captured ships.
“We expect Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage through the Kerch Strait to and from the Azov Sea in accordance with international law. The growing Crimea militarization continues to negatively affect the security situation in the Black Sea, and we call on the SMM to continue monitoring and reporting on the situation in the Azov coastal zone the sea,” EU delegation to the OSCE said.
In addition, deep concern was expressed about the deterioration of the human rights situation in the illegally annexed Crimea and the ongoing Crimean Tatar persecution.
“In this context, we regret that the Russian Federation is refusing to grant access to the OSCE SMM in accordance with its mandate,” the statement said.
Commenting on the recent detention of Crimean Tatars by the occupation administration, the European Union said that they did not recognize the application of Russian legislation in the illegally annexed Crimea.
“The EU does not recognize the application of Russian legislation in the illegally annexed Crimea, and expects Russia to put an end to this practice and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainians,” the statement said.
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