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US not discussing military response to Kerch Strait incident — general
The United States has not been discussing the possibility of a military response to the recent incident in the Kerch Strait, in which Russia had to detain three Ukrainian warships for violating its border, the US highest-ranking military officer said on Thursday.
"There has been no military response... not has been a discussion about a military response," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters at a conference organized by The Washington Post.
"There is not a discussion ongoing right now in the military dimension in response to Sea of Azov. Obviously my job in uniform is to make sure that the President has options available, should he decide to respond with military force," he added.
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 attempted to carry out illegal maneuvers in Russia’s 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 stop immediately and end their dangerous action. The Ukrainian warships carried on, blatantly disregarding these orders, which triggered a chase involving some gunfire to stop them. Consequently, the ships were detained in Russian territorial waters.
After the incident, the Kiev government accused Russia of blocking Azov Sea ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk. Russian authorities denied the reports, saying they never prohibited the navigation of ships via the Kerch Strait.
[Source: Itar Tass, Washington, 07Dec18]
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