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Ukraine denies rumors of concessions on sea borders with Russia

RIA Novosti

17:39 15/02/2011 KIEV, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied on Tuesday rumors that Ukraine was ready to make concessions to Russia on maritime border delimitation.

The Ukrainian-Russian border in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea, remains undefined since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ukrainian media reports recently suggested Ukraine was ready to allow Russian vessels passage through the Kerch-Yenikal Channel, part of the Kerch Strait.

"Rumors remain rumors; talks with the Russian Federation on delineation are ongoing and will remain in the field of our attention," ministry spokesman Olexandr Dykusarov told a news briefing.

According to Soviet-era maps, the border between Russia and Ukraine was directly down the middle of the Kerch Strait. However, the man-made Kerch-Yenikal Channel, which is navigable for large ships, then falls into Ukrainian waters.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko said in May, 2010, that Kiev would consider ways to allow the passage of Russian ships through the channel with Ukraine's consent.

A regular round of talks of the issue will take place in Kiev in early March, Dykusarov said.

"We stand by our national interests and maintain our point of view, and will continue doing so," he said.

Russia insists the Kerch-Yenikal Channel should be opened for both countries without any limitations and suggests placing the border down the middle of the Kerch-Yenikal Channel.

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