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16 March 201912:13

Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding individual restrictive measures adopted by the EU Council over “escalation” in the Kerch Strait

542-16-03-2019

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On March 15, the Council of the European Union adopted individual restrictive measures against Russian citizens.

The hypocrisy and shamelessness of the pretext cited for adding Russian citizens to the illegitimate EU sanctions list are stunning. The restrictions have been imposed mostly on members of the FSB Border Service who courageously do their duty of protecting the state border of Russia. They are only “guilty” of taking resolute action to cut short a flagrant provocation staged by the Kiev authorities in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.

The EU claims that Russia violated international law and “used military force with no justification” do not bear ground. On that day, two warships of the Ukrainian Navy with members of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on board attempted to move from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov in violation of the procedure set for peaceful movement across the Russian territorial waters. They carried out a dangerous manoeuvre, posing a threat to regular shipping traffic in these waters, and refused to heed the orders of the Russian coast guards. It is notable that the Ukrainian ships violated the Russian naval border in the area that was Russian territory even before the reunification of Crimea with Russia in March 2014. The Ukrainian warships and their crews were detained by our coast guards in strict compliance with international law and the Constitution and legislation of Russia. The Ukrainian seamen later publicly admitted to the provocative nature of the incident that had been organised with their involvement.

It is regrettable that the European Union has almost aligned itself with the Kiev authorities, which turned the incident in the Kerch Strait upside down.  It is also notable that the EU Council has adopted this decision in the run-up to the presidential election in Ukraine.

This decision by the EU Council is evidence of disregard for the right of Russia to defend its state border. It is an irresponsible course that will only encourage Kiev to carry on its policy of provocations, threatening the security of Russia and other Black Sea countries, including members of the European Union.

Of course, this unfriendly EU action will not go unanswered.

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