© AP Photo / Vadim GhirdaУкраинские military on the coast of the Azov sea© AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda
The European Parliament called on the EU to impose new sanctions against Russia if the conflict in the Azov sea will escalate. In Strasbourg adopted a resolution calling to stop the inspections of Ukrainian courts. The EP took a position of Kiev: after the capture of the Russian seiner Nord Ukraine incurs losses, caught in a legal deadlock over the Treaty with Russia.
The Requirements Of Strasbourg
The situation in the Azov sea could escalate into open conflict — is this fear in Strasbourg. «We are deeply concerned about the continued militarization of the sea of Azov and the black sea region», — said the parliamentarian. In particular, they drew attention to the fact that Russia has deployed in the region of the air defense systems s-400 and has deployed ships from the Caspian sea.
Also in the EP expressed regret at the fact that the area is becoming a «sphere of Russia’s military action against Ukraine»: that Moscow intends to «turn the Azov sea into their inland lake» and appropriates the Ukrainian oil and gas resources.
In addition, in Strasbourg condemned the «stop and inspection of commercial vessels, both Ukrainian and under the flags of third States.» MPs urged not to abuse the checks and not to carry them for political reasons, because it helps «further destabilizing the security, integrity and socio-economic situation in Ukraine.» The document contains a demand to immediately stop the «intense and discriminatory inspection of ships». Otherwise, the EU may «consider the adoption of appropriate countermeasures». Russia’s actions are assessed as «excessive» and in violation of international Maritime law.
However, the European Parliament authorized EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy «to declare, upon agreement with member countries that sanctions against Russia will be strengthened if the conflict in the sea of Azov will become aggravated».
Not without attendants mention of support for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In Strasbourg, he did not fail «to reaffirm the sovereignty of Ukraine over the Crimean Peninsula and part of the Azov sea». Condolences in connection with tragedy in Kerch, where the attack on a College killed 20 people, parliamentarians also expressed not Moscow, and Kiev — same scenario.
Remember the deputies and about the Crimean bridge. The construction of the bridge, pipeline and underwater cables, without the consent of Kiev is described as «yet another violation by the Russian Federation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine». The resolution States that this structure «has had a negative impact on the environment» and «lowered the level of the sea in the Strait.» MPs are also concerned about the fact that the construction of the bridge involved a European company.
However, in Strasbourg drew attention to the fact that Kiev has initiated the termination of the agreement on friendship with Russia and established a naval base on the sea of Azov, by bringing into the region additional forces.
The bottom line is parliamentarians urged to extend the mandate of the Special monitoring mission of the OSCE, working in the Donbass, the whole territory of Ukraine, including in coastal areas. They also offered to appoint a special envoy of the EU on the issues of Crimea and Donbas.
The reaction of Moscow and Kiev
The representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, described the resolution as «another propaganda card is played by our Western colleagues». «Statements by us officials, European representatives, now reached the European Parliament — they are all identical, they are based on some factual, they are examples of political propaganda,» she said. According to her, the adopted document «a fresh new (propaganda) thread».
The Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Slutsky called the document «the basis for new sanctions in the Council of the European Union». «The European Parliament has long become a familiar tool in the hands of the Russophobes to conduct to the tune of us curators of the line for the denigration and marginalization of Russia on the European information space», — he added.
The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko welcomed the initiative of Strasbourg. In his microblog on Twitter, he thanked the MEPs for «the imposition of additional sanctions over the Kremlin’s aggressive actions in the sea of Azov and Kerch Strait». In General, nothing new.
What’s the point
The situation in the Azov sea has escalated after the spring of this year, Ukrainian authorities detained Russian boat «Nord». The ship’s captain blamed the fact that he visited the Crimea. In addition, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine forbade Russian ships to carry cargo in Ukrainian waters. Restrictions also touched upon foreign vessels calling at the ports of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.
After that, Russia began to inspect ships in ports of Ukraine on the Azov sea. Moscow operates in accordance with the Agreement on cooperation between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in the Azov sea and the Kerch Strait, signed in 2004. According to the document, the basics related to the internal waters of both States. This means that Kiev and Moscow have the authority to stop and inspect the boats.
Warships of third countries may enter the Azov sea to visit Ukraine, but only in agreement with Russia — and Vice versa.
The Verkhovna Rada has repeatedly demanded cancellation of the contract on the Azov sea. Summer even made a bill. The Ukrainian foreign Ministry in response said that the denunciation of the agreement not in the interests of Kiev: «This will allow Russia to assert territorial dispute».
Then Poroshenko stated that Kiev does not intend to accept «the seizure of ships moving in the direction of the Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol», and ordered the Minister of defense and commander of the naval forces to allow in any way the situation. However, the commander of the Ukrainian Navy Igor Voronchenko was only able to confirm that the actions of the «ships of the FSB and the Russian black sea fleet to halt and inspection of vessels <…> are not unlawful». However, Kiev has strengthened its group of ships, throw from Odessa search-and-rescue vessel «Donbass» and sea tug «koretz». Moreover, the Ukrainian authorities began to establish a naval base in Berdyansk.
The legality of the position Moscow had to recognize in the Ministry of foreign Affairs of Ukraine. «By all canons of international Maritime law, warships have the right to stop the civil court for examination, it does not need any mandates,» — said the Deputy head of the Ministry Elena zerkal.
In August, the Ukrainian border service informed that Russian sailors detained a total of 150 boats. According to the Agency, some courts have to wait for permission to proceed under the Crimean bridge for several days. The Minister of infrastructure of Ukraine Volodymyr Omelyan calculated that Ukrainian ports are because of this, the losses of hundreds of millions of hryvnia.
Meanwhile, despite the complaints, Kiev continues to do everything to exacerbate the situation of navigation in the Azov and Black seas. So, in October captured the boat «Nord» was put up for auction. And in the Kherson port is still wrongly blocked in August by the Ukrainian authorities, the ship «Mekhanik Pogodin».