Merkel, Macron demand Russian Federation release Ukrainian sailors

31 December, 2018, 18:41 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Russia imposes retaliatory embargo on Ukrainian products

All 24 families of Ukrainian sailors, who are illegally detained in the territory of the Russian Federation, have been paid UAH 100,000 each.

It reiterated that Russia continues to ensure freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait in accordance with the existing Russian-Ukrainian agreements, domestic legislation and applicable global standards.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it believes all attempts to doubt the legal status of Crimea and Sevastopol as part of Russia are futile.

"The human rights situation in Crimea, which was annexed by Russian Federation in violation of worldwide law, and the use of military force by Russian Federation in the Straits of Kerch and abusive controls in the Sea of Azov are also a source of great concern to us", the French and German leaders wrote Friday.

The strait is the only way to enter the Sea of Azov.

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Earlier this week, the sailors declared themselves to be prisoners of war and refused to give statements. The sailors are still being held in detention by Russian authorities.

President Vladimir Putin's government sent troops without insignia to the peninsula, seized key buildings, took control of the regional legislature, and staged a referendum denounced as illegitimate by at least 100 countries at the UN.

Ukrainian wheat, sunflower oil, bread, jam and wine were also barred, the Russian government announced on Saturday.

Macron and Merkel on Friday said these "excessive inspections" were a source of "deep concern". The duo also called for establishing a secure area to allow for delivery of aid, saying that civilians had "already suffered much too long from the conflict and its consequences".

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