EU permanent reps committee agrees on sanctions against Russia for armed aggression in Kerch Strait – Poroshenko
The European Union Committee of Permanent Representatives has decided to impose "the Azov package" sanctions against the Russian Federation for an act of armed aggression against Ukrainian sailors and ships in the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait region, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said.
"I welcome the decision of the EU Coreper to launch a new Azov package of sanctions towards Russia for open and blatant act of armed aggression against Ukrainian crewmen and vessels in the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait," Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
The head of state expressed gratitude for the support of his initiative, solidarity and unity with the Ukrainian people in rebuff to the Russian aggressor.
"We ensure strong international pressure on Kremlin for release of our prisoners of war, restoration of freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov, implementation of the international status of the Kerch Strait as well as lifting the Russian economic blockade of Ukrainian Azov region. I am going to visit Brussels soon to continue coordination of joint actions with the EU and the NATO," the president said.
A diplomatic source in EU institutions told Interfax (interfax.ru) that the permanent representatives of the EU countries at a meeting of their committee (Coreper) in Brussels on Wednesday agreed on a list of eight people who are considered to be involved in events in the Kerch Strait region on November 25, 2018.
As was reported, Russian border guards on November 25, 2018, captured the Yany Kapu tugboat and two small armored artillery boats of Ukraine's Navy. The 24 Ukrainian sailors on board were taken prisoner and transported to Moscow on November 29.
Russian officials charged the Ukrainian sailors with illegal crossing of Russia's border. Ukraine, European Union member states and the United States say the Ukrainian sailors are prisoners of war and should be immediately released.
Moscow's Lefortovo District Court on January 15 and January 16, 2019, extended pretrial detention for the Ukrainian POWs until April 24, 2019.