LONDON, December 5. /TASS/. The United Kingdom and some other Western countries seek to use Kiev’s provocation in the Kerch Strait to stir up anti-Russian rhetoric, a press officer at the Russian Embassy in London said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the Ukrainian provocation in the Black Sea, as well as the general situation in the region, continues to be used by a number of Western countries, including the UK, to stir up anti-Russian rhetoric. The details of the incident, most notably the blatant and deliberate violation of the territorial waters of the Russian Federation by the Ukrainian ships, are ignored by the UK government. A number of British media outlets haы also given a biased assessment of Russian actions in the Kerch Strait,” the statement reads.
“I would like to stress once again that the Kerch Strait is open to passage for any merchant ships heading to and from Russian and Ukrainian ports, as well as for Russian and Ukrainian warships,” the press officer noted.
“Blaming Russia for an ‘escalation in the Sea of Azov,’ London conceals the fact that on 25 November the Ukrainian side violated the Russian border in the place that had been Russian territory even before the events of 2014. The Ukrainians rejected an offer of pilotage and were treacherously heading into the Kerch Strait from the south. Two officers of the Ukrainian security service present aboard one of the ships, later admitted they had a special task to act the way they did,” the statement adds.
“Curiously enough, the incident in the Kerch Strait coincided with the aggravation of the situation in Donbass as Kiev is pulling military equipment to the disengagement line. This is a direct violation of the Minsk Agreements by Ukraine, completely ignored by the UK. Moreover, London contributes to Kiev’s aggressive attitude by announcing the deployment of additional contingents of military instructors to Ukraine and, according to the BBC, groups of military propagandists from the British 77th Brigade,” the press officer stressed.
The Russian embassy also expressed regret “that Kiev’s confrontational policy, which contradicts regional and international security interests, is supported by the UK Conservative Government, which uses every opportunity, however absurd, to maintain ‘pressure’ on Russia.”
Kerch Strait incident
On November 25, three Ukrainian Тavy ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters later in the day. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters. Three Ukrainian military servicemen suffered light wounds and received medical assistance. A criminal investigation has been opened into the border incident. The Ukrainian ships’ crew members, 24 Ukrainian nationals, have been arrested until January 25, 2019.
Moscow branded Kiev’s stunt in the Kerch Strait as a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions, and Kiev declared a 30-day martial law.