Kiev gunning for ban on passage of Russian ships through Bosporus

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Russia's guided missile cruiser Moskva passing through Bosporus strait

Russia’s guided missile cruiser Moskva passing through Bosporus strait


© EPA/CAN MEREY

KIEV, November 29. /TASS/. Kiev intends to demand that Russian vessels be banned from passing through the Bosporus Strait because of the Kerch Strait standoff, Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Igor Voronchenko, stated at a briefing in Kiev on Thursday.

“In accordance with the Montreux Convention, namely Paragraph 19, we will seek the closure of the Bosporus in the Republic of Turkey to make the Russians understand what it means to violate international law,” he stated.

The Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits was adopted in 1936, restoring Turkey’s sovereignty over the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits. The Convention preserves freedom of passage for merchant ships from all countries through the Straits. However, the regime of passage for warships from Black Sea countries and non-Black Sea states is different with significant restrictions having been imposed on the latter ones. Also, Turkey has the right to forbid the passage of warships if it finds itself at war, or if it sees a direct threat to its security. The Strait can also be closed to ships of states at war, even if Turkey is not involved in the conflict.

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 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 immediately halt, and end 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 Kiev’s stunt 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.

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