Turkey urges Russia, Ukraine to exercise restraint in Black Sea
In this image taken from video released by the Russia's Federal Security Service taken from a Russian Coast Guard vessel purporting to show an incident between the Russian coast guard and a Ukrainian tugboat, in the Kerch Strait on Nov. 25. Russia said three Ukrainian vessels made an unauthorized passage through Russian territorial waters, while Ukraine alleged that one of its boats was rammed by a Russian coast guard vessel. (Russia's Federal Security Service via AP)
In a written statement, the ministry on Nov. 26 said Turkey follows developments in the region and expressed concern over reports that Ukrainian ships were targeted by harassment fire and there were wounded after the incident.
“As a riparian state, we emphasize that transitions from the Kerch Strait to the Black Sea should not be obstructed. We call for avoiding steps that may endanger regional peace and stability, respecting international law, and also avoiding the escalation of tension by acting in prudence and restraint,” said the statement.
Russia seized three Ukrainian navy warships off Crimea in the Sea of Azov on Nov. 25. Russia said the vessels ignored calls to stop at the border, sparking military action. The Ukrainian Navy earlier accused Russia of opening fire on its warships off Crimea, asserting that crew members were wounded and its vessels were seized by Russia.
The escalation follows Russia’s blocking of the Kerch Strait, the only passage to the Sea of Azov, by placing a cargo vessel under the Crimean Bridge.