Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statement of UK Prime Minister on the Kerch Strait

Question: How would you comment on the statement made by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on the eve of the G-20 summit, claiming that Russia should de-escalate the situation in the Kerch Strait?

Answer: First of all, we would like to remind that the recent events in the Kerch Strait have obviously been a provocation orchestrated from Kiev. The Ukrainian ships entered Russian territorial waters (in the area that belonged to Russia even before 2014) and deliberately ignored requests by Russian border guards.

We don’t understand the meaning of Mrs May’s appeals to “de-escalate” the situation. Before the provocation, there had been no problems with the passage of vessels, including Ukrainian military ships, through the Kerch Strait. The so-called “obstacles” allegedly put by Russia are nothing but routine security checks. They do not result in any substantial delays and are equally conducted towards both Ukrainian and Russian vessels. Moreover, currently the sea traffic in the Kerch Strait is fully restored and functioning routinely.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is making such statements prior to an important international summit, thus poisoning the working atmosphere of G-20,a widely respected forum, while trying to prevent constructive dialogue that would be in the interests of all its participants.

As for Mrs May’s statement on the UK’s intention to be at the forefront of EU efforts to build up sanctions against Russia, they once again prove that the talk on sanctions is being exploited by the British authorities, regardless of facts, in order to continue influencing EU’s foreign policy in spite of Brexit.