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29nov18


Merkel urges Ukraine-Russia dialogue to settle Kerch Strait incident


German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken in favor of solving the dispute over the incident involving Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait through dialogue

"We want to ask the Ukrainian side one thing, namely to be smart," Merkel told the German-Ukrainian economic conference in Berlin on Thursday. "We know that such things can only be settled wisely and through talks with each other, they cannot be solved with weapons." "My stance is that the facts of what had happened should be made public," the Chancellor emphasized.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on November 25 that the Ukrainian warships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu had breached the Russian state border on Sunday morning and later attempted to carry out illegal maneuvers in Russiaís territorial waters later. The Ukrainian vessels ignored the legitimate demands of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet to immediately halt, and put an end to performing dangerous maneuvers. As a result of blatantly disregarding the orders, a chase involving some gunfire ensued in order to stop the Ukrainian ships, which were detained in Russian territorial waters.

Moscow branded Kievís maneuvers in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and the NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions.

On Wednesday, Crimean courts imposed two-month pre-trial detentions on all 24 Ukrainian sailors, who are suspected of breaching the Russian state border.

[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 29nov18]

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