Muzhenko says there are two radio messages informing about passage of Ukrainian ships through Kerch Strait
Head of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko has said there exist two more radio messages confirming that crews of Ukrainian Naval Forces ships, captured by the Russian side in the Black Sea, informed in advance about their intention to pass along the Kerch-Yenikale Canal and negotiated with the Russian coast guard.
"Regarding the additional data on the passage of our ships through the Kerch Strait. There are two more radiograms that clearly state that our small armored boat Berdiansk made a request and communicated with the dispatcher of the technical supervision post of the Coast Guard of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB)," Muzhenko said at a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Friday morning.
Muzhenko said the radio message said that a member of the Ukrainian crew during the negotiations notes that according to the agreement on the Russian-Ukrainian border of January 28, 2003 and the agreement on cooperation in using the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait of December 24, 2003, the Naval Forces ships and their support vessel have the right to safely pass through the Kerch Strait. At the same time, the Ukrainian side declared its readiness to take on board the pilot and act "according to the plan."
"The warning about the passage through the Kerch Strait was filed four hours before the start of the transition, according to the relevant procedure," Muzhenko said.
As earlier reported, on November 25, Russian border guards attacked and detained the Yany Kapu tugboat and two small-sized Berdiansk and Nikopol armored artillery boats of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' Navy, sailing from Odesa to Mariupol via the Black and Azov Seas, near the Kerch Strait. The ships were convoyed to Kerch. Twenty-four Ukrainian military seamen were detained.
The European Union and the foreign ministries of many countries have condemned Russian aggressive actions in the Azov and Black Seas against the Ukrainian ships. Kurt Volker, Special Representative of the U.S. Department of State for Ukraine Negotiations, and Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, said that there was nothing in the actions of the Ukrainian side in the Kerch Strait that could be regarded as a provocation.