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People's Daily Online

Moscow regrets Merkel, Macron stance on Russia-Ukraine relations

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 15:12, December 30, 2018

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday it regretted the position of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on some aspects of Russia-Ukraine relations.

Macron and Merkel issued a joint statement Friday, saying they were deeply concerned with the "human rights situation in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia, Russia's use of military force in the Kerch Strait, and excessive inspections in the Azov Sea."

They called for all ships using the Kerch Strait to be given "safe, free, and unhindered passage" and urged the immediate and unconditional release of the Ukrainian sailors detained by Russia in a recent incident in the Black Sea.

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.

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 international standards.

At the same time, Moscow will also consider the real risks to Russia's security, threats and possible provocations from Ukraine and its western "friends."

Russia shot at and seized three Ukrainian naval ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov on Nov. 25, alleging they breached Russian territorial waters.

In response, Ukraine imposed martial law in certain regions bordering Russia for 30 days ending on Dec. 26 and banned Russian men between 16 and 60 from entering the country, except for humanitarian purposes.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on Paris and Berlin to pay attention to the human rights violations by the Ukrainian government, primarily those of Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens.

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