Pavlo Klimkin Meets German Foreign Minister
Ukraine's Foreign Minister has held talks with his German counterpart. Among the topics on the agenda were the situation in the Kerch Strait, Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia and energy security
“I want to emphasize on the issue with the situation in the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea. First of all, of course, we welcome the initiative, which is a joint French-German initiative on the control and monitoring of freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait. Of course, this is a very important initiative for us but all civilized states must enjoy the freedom of navigation in accordance with the fundamental principles of international law. I want to stress that the freedom of navigation applies to the Kerch Strait and Azov Sea,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.
“We are also concerned about developments in the Azov Sea. Today I made it clear in Moscow – both in talks with Russian representatives, especially with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but also publicly, what we expect in this regard. Russia should guarantee free passage through the Kerch Strait. We hear that this is currently the case, and we want that this is being guaranteed permanently, because a crisis as we experienced it in November must not happen again. And that is why we need first and foremost clarity about the situation on the ground,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said.
The German foreign minister called for the release of the captured Ukrainian sailors.
“The arrest of Ukrainian sailors is unacceptable and we request their immediate release. This of course also applies to other prisoners, for example, Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, to name but one. This remains a case, together with unfortunately many other cases, that as far as the German government is concerned needs to be solved by Russia. We continue to advocate for the release and will not let up with regard to this vis-a-vis the Russian side,” Mass said.
Energy security was also another important topic at the meeting, especially within the context of the construction of the Nord Stream Two gas pipeline. The German delegation highlighted the importance of preserving Ukraine as a transit route for Russian gas to Europe.