Yesterday the latest news from the Sea of Azov was checked out by all of Ukraine. Russian ships fired and captured Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait. According to preliminary data, six of our sailors were injured. However, Ukraine did not stay face to face with Russia’s imperial stance. What was the reaction of other countries’ representatives to the open aggression of the Kremlin – in reactions from Opinion.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed a serious protest against Russia’s actions, which seized control of three Ukrainian ships, injured and captured their crews.
David Zalkaliani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, in his Twitter stressed that attacking and seizing Ukrainian navies is a blatant violation of International Maritime Law and it undermines the security of the entire region. Georgia fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu assured, that the organization fully supports the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity, including navigation rights in territorial waters. NATO urged Russia to provide unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov in accordance with international law. Lungescu also added, that NATO controls the situation and is in constant contact with the Ukrainian authorities.
Linas Linkevičius, a Lithuanian public official, diplomat and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, strongly condemned Russia’s blockade of the Kerch Strait and further actions against Ukrainian ships. According to him, such actions cannot be qualified differently than an act of aggression and a clear violation of international law.
Maya Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the European Union’s foreign policy service, also supported Ukraine, adding that the tension in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov have increased significantly. According to her, the EU expects Russia to reestablish freedom of passage, and everyone will act with extreme restraint.
The EU Delegation’s website in Ukraine further emphasized that the events in the Sea of Azov are the demonstration of how instability and tension can increase if one does not take into account the basic rules of international cooperation. In the letter it is also added, that the construction of the Kerch Bridge was done without the consent of Ukraine and constitutes another violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The EU does not recognize and is not going to recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Chrystia Freeland, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, said her country also condemns the aggression against Ukraine and appeals for Russia to free the seized ships as soon as possible. According to the minister, Canada consistently supports the sovereignty of Ukraine.
The U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, also responded to Russian aggression in the Sea of Azov, noting that “Russia rammed a Ukrainian ship that peacefully traveled to the Ukrainian port, seized ships and crews but accused Ukraine in this whole situation”.
Former DASD for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, the head of Biden analytical center at the University of Pennsylvania, Michael Carpenter, in his turn, wrote that it is time for NATO to think about establishing a permanent group in the port of Romania. This is unlikely to help Ukraine now, but it is a necessary step.
The words of concern and full support of Ukraine have also been expressed on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania. The department is convinced: Ukraine has the full right to use its territorial waters, and aggression and violations of international law from Russia only undermine the security of the entire region.
Edgars Rinkēvičs, a politician and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, also supported the opinion of other representatives of the international community, agreeing that Russia’s actions are the violation of international law. According to the minister, the Kremlin’s action must be condemned by the international community, and Russia itself must take measures to solve the situation.
Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas also condemned Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian naval vessels, the block of the Kerch Strait and aggression against Ukraine, and supported the EU and NATO’s appeal to the de-escalation of the situation.
And on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, it is emphasized that Russia’s action is the deliberate act oriented to the tension’s aggravation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland also condemned the Russian aggression, urging the authorities of the aggressor country to respect international law.
The sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country were supported in the embassy of Australia in Ukraine.
Reactions were collected by Stepan the Goat
Illustration by Viktoria Cherniakhivska