President Poroshenko: "We will never recognise the occupation of the Sea of Azov"

"We will never recognise the occupation of the Sea of Azov, which Russia is trying to organise now. We will never recognise the occupation of the Kerch Strait. And we insist on international law, we will use the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov," President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said in an interview with CNN Türk.

"Because the Azov Sea is the zone of economic activity of a multimillion agglomeration in the east of my country, I hate the idea that Russia will decide how we should use the Azov Sea. We will not allow this," he said.

His comments come in the wake of the illegal seizure of three Ukrainian warships, and the detention of 24 sailors. Russia is, against international convention, refused to recognise the status of the men as prisoners of war.

This was not only in the Kerch Strait. Regular Russian troops under the Russian flag attacked a vessel of the Ukrainian fleet, opened fire with 30-mm weapons, without any reason opened fire on my sailors, launched an assault operation, provoking Ukrainians to open fire in response... And Russia speaks about provocations? These are open international waters, these are internal Ukrainian waters. There is international law and a bilateral treaty, where the Kerch Strait is a common strait belonging both to Ukraine and Russia.

Petro Poroshenko

Emphasising that the Russian attack had been carried out in neutral waters, he stated "We have video, radio interception, satellite images - we have everything. In the neutral waters of the Black Sea, not far from Turkey, by the way".

The President also drew attention to the security issues in the Black Sea. He stressed that this is an extremely important issue for all states of the Black Sea region - Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, adding that "only Russia is trying to destabilise the situation... We will not allow the militarisation of the Black Sea. And in this situation, we must be ready to answer."

Read also: Russia Refuses EU Leaders Plea To Release Illegally Held Ukrainian Sailors

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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