By Victoria Ojeme
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has expressed its strong protest to the Russian Federation in connection with the armed attack and capture of the Ukrainian navy ships Berdyansk, Nikopol and the tug boat Yana Kapu and 23 crew members.
Russia had seized three Ukrainian naval ships off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea last Sunday after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors.
In a statement by the Embassy of Ukraine in Nigeria, Mykola Yaremchuk, first secretary of the Embassy of Ukraine said the attack on the ships was carried out during a sea crossing from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol, in accordance with the provisions of all effective multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigation rules.
Yaremchuk added that it is another act of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, as defined, in particular, in Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 29/3314 of 14 December 1974 on the definition of aggression. “Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea.”
“Kremlin’s regime has today once again demonstrated that it won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for acts of aggression against the Ukrainian state,” he said.
According to the statement, Ukraine demands to provide urgent medical assistance to the wounded and to ensure their immediate safe return home. Ukraine also demands the return of the captured navy ships and to compensate for the damage caused.
“It is Kremlin’s regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.”
“Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions, as well as by providing Ukraine with military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognized borders,” the embassy said.