18 Jan 2019 15:34

Kyiv is for creation of int'l mission in Kerch Strait if Russia doesn't manipulate it - Klimkin

KYIV. Jan 18 (Interfax) - Ukraine would welcome an international mission in the Kerch Strait but is concerned that Russia may manipulate it, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said.

"If an international presence helps us here and they [the Russian authorities] don't manipulate it, we undoubtedly welcome it, and it should be established," Klimkin said at a press conference on the work of the Foreign Ministry held in Kyiv on Friday, commenting on reports that Germany and France may guarantee navigation in the Kerch Strait with Russia's approval.

Klimkin said he hopes that Ukraine's German partners had productive talks with Russian officials.

"Although, honestly speaking, I am confident that Russia will continue manipulating it. Russia's purpose is to destabilize Ukrainian Donbas, and it is best to do so from the south. That's clear politically, geopolitically, and economically," Klimkin said.

The issue of international control in the Kerch Strait has already been discussed with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, among others, he said.

"The idea is to have international control. Not Russian control, but international control in the Kerch Strait," Klimkin said.

"This is a possibility of specialists who would see what Russia is doing independently and understand perfectly well that one must follow the principles of international law, that there is no Russian idea of any borders there, and that the principles that need to be implemented as regards the strait and the Sea of Azov are freedom of navigation in accordance with international law and the Convention on the Law of the Sea," Klimkin said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with the German foreign minister earlier on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had accepted German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proposal that German and French specialists be given access to the Kerch Strait.