Ukraine not to waive its right to free passage through Kerch Strait — Poltorak
Ukraine is going to continue to use the Kerch Strait for passage of its ships, a statement published on the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's website says, quoting Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak as saying.
"It will always be because the Sea of Azov is part of Ukraine. Mariupol and Berdiansk are our ports, they are part of Ukraine, it’s part of our economy. And we will definitely not waive our right to free passage through the Kerch Strait in compliance with all the international norms and law," Poltorak said.
The Ukrainian defense minister said that the second passage, during which Ukrainian ships were attacked by Russian ships, and the Ukrainian sailors captured, was no different in terms of organization and preparation from the first one, which was successful in September of this year.
"The Russian Federation looked at the fact that our plans included further passages through the Kerch Strait and there was a desire [on our side] to strengthen our grouping in the Sea of Azov; therefore, they just exploited our second attempt to carry out a provocation involving our ships," he said.