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Sea of Azov: Russia must deescalate tensions or face further sanctions

The EU must reinforce its sanctions against Russia if they continue their provocative actions in the Sea of Azov, warned ECR MEP Anna Fotyga, Chair of the European Parliament’s Security and Defence sub-committee ahead of a vote later today.

The EU must reinforce its sanctions against Russia if they continue their provocative actions in the Sea of Azov, warned ECR MEP Anna Fotyga, Chair of the European Parliament’s Security and Defence sub-committee ahead of a vote later today.

The Sea of Azov sits in the Black Sea region and can be accessed via the Kerch Straight. It has shorelines in both Ukraine and Russia. In a resolution set to be adopted by Parliament today, ECR MEPs condemn the construction of the Kerch Bridge, which opened this year over the homonymous Strait, linking Russian mainland to the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.

The Bridge, which represents a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, is now being used as geopolitical tool to control access to Ukrainian ports, harming their economy due to the Kremlin’s spurious and unjustified blocking and inspection of local and international vessels on their way to or from Ukraine.

Speaking ahead of the vote, Fotyga said: “We have seen actions of this sort before in the Baltic States and Poland, and now in the Sea of Azov.

“The unwavering support of NATO is needed in order to protect Ukraine from Russian aggression.

“EU leaders must reinforce sanctions on Russia should its increasingly belligerent position towards Ukraine continue to escalate.

“We must not under any circumstances allow the militarisation of the Sea of Azov or the Black Sea, which would put lives, the economy and the sovereignty of Western Europe’s waters at risk.”

Fotyga, a former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs added a call for: “The deployment of a permanent special EU Envoy for Crimea and the Donbass region to surveil the area as an added protective measure.”

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