Ukraine Invites NATO to Accompany Its Warships in the Azov Sea
Ukraine has invited NATO to the Azov Sea, NATO does not want to escalate the situation
Yesterday, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov replied to a question during an interview with BBC News Ukraine about whether or not NATO ships would enter the Azov Sea.
“It would be very logical for NATO ships, which we invite to the ports of the Azov Sea, to prove that Russia must comply with international law. Our initiative has not received a response yet. However, I hope they will at least send their observers during the next passage of Ukrainian warships through the Kerch Strait.”
Responding to a question about a threat of possible seizure of NATO and OSCE representatives by Russians, Turchynov expressed the hope that Russia would not dare to act in such an aggressive manner.
“If the attention of the leading world countries is focused on this issue, Russia will tail off and will not dare to act aggressively. However, if we let the situation around the Kerch Strait run its course, if our sailors are not released from captivity immediately, then the civilized world will actually recognize that Russia has the right to any aggression, to any changes in borders and takes no responsibility for this,” Turchynov stressed.
NATO continues to closely follow the situation in the Azov Sea region and calls on Russia to release the captured Ukrainian sailors.
An official representative of the Alliance said this to a Ukrinform correspondent today.
The NATO representative did not directly answer Turchynov’s request for NATO naval escorts but asked for restraint and confirmed NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine.
“The escalation will serve nobody’s interests. During a meeting with President Poroshenko last week, the NATO Secretary General commended the calm and restraint that Ukraine had demonstrated during the developments around the Azov Sea,” the Alliance official said.
At the same time, the NATO representative reiterated his concern about the growing tensions in and around the Azov Sea. NATO remains vigilant and continues to closely follow the situation in the region. He did mention that the Alliance had significantly increased its presence in the Black Sea since the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 and would continue to assess the degree of its presence in the region.
“Russia must release the captured Ukrainian sailors and ships without delay. We also call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports and freedom of navigation,” the Alliance official said.
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