The European Council discussed Russia's aggressive actions in the Sea of Azov for the first time, stated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“I welcome the promising results of the work of the Ukrainian-American Strategic Partnership Commission which has been revived after a long pause. Grateful to Donald Trump , State Secretary Mike Pompeo, all American friends for a shoulder of strong support and unwavering solidarity with Ukraine!” Poroshenko wrote on Twitter.
In addition, Poroshenko expressed his gratitude to the European Council for “approving the initiative to increase the EU’s assistance to Ukraine in the socio-economic development of the Ukrainian areas neighboring the Sea of Azov”. The president did not specify what kind of assistance was expected.
On November 19, foreign and defense ministers of the EU countries had a meeting in Brussels and discussed a range of security issues, including the situation in the Donbas and the Sea of Azov.
After the meeting, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that the European Union is preparing assistance to the areas that have been harmed by “illegal actions” in the Sea of Azov. Mogherini expressed hope that Russia will stop aggressive actions.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “fishing is allowed anywhere” under the current agreements with Ukraine on the Sea of Azov. The Kremlin claimed that Moscow “can take measures” to protect Russian individuals and legal entities in connection with the fact that ships that entered the annexed Crimea were detained by Ukrainian border guards.
On September 6, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine decided to strengthen the naval presence in the Azov Sea.
In mid-May, after the completion of the automobile part construction of the Kerch Bridge, Russia reportedly relocated sea vessels, including the military ships of the Caspian flotilla to the Azov Sea. At the same time, Moscow referred to the need to strengthen security around the strategic facility [ the Kerch Bridge].
Since then, Russia has detained more than 148 Ukrainian and foreign merchant ships and interrogated crew members and other people who were on those vessels.