Statement by leading MEPs on EU-Ukraine relations on escalating tensions in the Sea of Azov.

“We are profoundly concerned by tensions escalating in the Azov Sea on 25 November, which resulted in an incident between Russian and Ukrainian naval forces, leading to the Russian authorities closing the Kerch strait to traffic and to seizures of Ukrainian vessels, as well as hostilities.

We expect Russia to permanently restore the freedom of passage at the Kerch strait and urge all sides to de-escalate the situation immediately. The construction of the Kerch Bridge without Ukraine’s consent already constitutes a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has led to the militarisation of the Azov Sea, as well as to the conflict escalating further.

We demand that Russia resorts to responsible behaviour and immediately de-escalates the situation, which has the potential to pose a threat to European security and stability.

We take note of today’s discussions in the Rada concerning martial law and are following related developments closely.”

The statement was issued by:

EP Foreign Affairs Committee Chair David McAllister (EPP, DE),

EP Subcommittee on Defence Chair Anna Fotyga (ECR, PL),

Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL),

Chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE),

EP rapporteur on Ukraine Michael Gahler (EPP, DE).