The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, wrote on Facebook that the decision of the EU summit to continue sanctions against the Russian Federation is an important result for Ukraine and creates the basis to develop new measures.
“The next step should be the introduction of an “Azov packet of sanctions.” This decision and the discussion between EU leaders provides a good basis for the development process, so Russia’s aggressive act is justly and strictly punished,” stressed the president.
In addition, he welcomed the EU’s decision to launch a program of social economic support areas in the Azov region.
“I welcome the decision of the EU to start a program of social and economic support for regions near Azov in order to minimize the negative effects of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports,” noted Poroshenko.
On December 13th, the leaders of the EU member states decided to extend the economic sanctions against Russia.
Also, the European Union called on Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors who were detained during the incident in the Kerch Strait.
On the morning of November 25, Ukraine informed the Russian port of its intention to transfer three ships through the Kerch Strait, as required by the Agreement on the joint use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait. However, at around 8:00 a.m., Russian ships carried out acts of provocation against the Ukrainian vessels, even ramming into the Yany Kapu tugboat.
Russia later accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its territorial waters, claiming that they were “maneuvering dangerously” and “not complying with the legitimate demands of the Russian authorities”. Russia also physically blocked the Kerch Strait with a transport ship. The Ukrainian ships decided to return to Odessa, but they were chased and subsequently attacked by the Russian military. The Berdyansk and Nikopol boats were hit, and two crew members were wounded. All three of the ships were seized by Russia.
On November 28, the Kremlin-controlled court of Simferopol placed the Ukrainian sailors under 2 months of arrest – until January 25, 2019.