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Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs comments on Kerch Strait events

Politics 29.11.2018 | 13:21
Vladimir Makei. An archive photo
Vladimir Makei. An archive photo

MINSK, 29 November (BelTA) – Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei has made a number of statements to explain Belarus' stance on the situation arising from events in the Kerch Strait, BelTA has learned.

According to Vladimir Makei, what is going on near the Kerch Strait confirms the relevance and realism of the warnings the Belarus president had expressed more than once. “The warnings about the world sliding towards the abyss of a major conflict. Last time it was mentioned during the latest session of the Munich Security Conference Core Group. What do we think about it? We are very close to it. Indirectly and directly we feel consequences of this confrontation,” he said.

Vladimir Makei said: “We would certainly like to see no steps made, which would further escalate tensions in our region. Because it might have an effect on regional security and international security as a whole. We are convinced that sides of the conflict understand their responsibility for the situation in the region, for regional security.”

Vladimir Makei stressed Belarus would like outside players to avoid making some emotional statements, which would result only in further escalation of tensions in the end.

“We've always said – it has been repeatedly stressed by the Belarusian head of state – that if it is acceptable for the relevant political players Belarus is ready to make its own contribution to the resolution of the situation and the de-escalation of tensions, which are unfortunately present in our region today,” said Vladimir Makei.

“We've been keeping an eye on the statements made by the parties. But there have been no direct contacts. Certainly, it would be important for us to get objective information from one side and the other one in order to have our own real analysis of the situation caused by the incident,” added the Belarusian minister of foreign affairs.

The Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform reported on 28 November that Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko had signed the legislation to introduce martial law in the country for 30 days. Petro Poroshenko specified that the martial law introduced in ten oblasts of Ukraine will end on 26 December and cannot be extended without the approval of the Ukrainian parliament.

The martial law has been prompted by an incident, which occurred in the Kerch Strait on 25 November. Ukraine claims that two Ukrainian armored boats and a tug boat were on the way from Odessa to Mariupol via the Kerch Strait and that Russia had been warned about their passage in advance. The Ukrainian vessels encountered aggressive actions on the part of the Russian border guard service at sea.

Russia claims that the Ukrainian vessels had violated the Russian border. The Federal Security Service (FSB) is quoted as saying that vessels of the Ukrainian navy violated the Russian border in the morning on 25 November. In the evening the vessels made another attempt at illegal actions within the Russian territorial waters. The Ukrainian vessels failed to respond to demands to heave to and continued dangerous maneuvering. Weapons were employed to stop the Ukrainian vessels. A criminal case has been opened into the violation of the Russian state border.

Both Ukraine and Russia describe the situation as a provocation.

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