Moscow called on Ukraine and its Western partners to abandon the new attempt to send naval ships through the Kerch Strait.
At a press briefing, the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, called the possible passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait "a reckless initiative", RIA Novosti reports.
Zakharova also noted that the "Western supervisors" of Kyiv should come up with a way of "reasoning with the ruling regime" in Ukraine in order to make them abandon the steps that could lead to escalation in the region.
According to Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that Ukraine’s plans to make a new attempt to send warships through the Kerch Strait are nothing more than a "provocation" in which Kyiv plans to involve NATO and the OSCE.
"Apparently, the recent incident with Ukrainian sailors, who became hostages of the aggressive policy of Kyiv authorities, did not teach anyone anything," Zakharova added.
As previously reported, the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov announced that the Ukrainian warships would make another attempt to pass through the Kerch Strait which would the involve Ukraine’s international partners.
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 Berdiansk 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.