The North Atlantic Council has this evening released a statement on developments near the Sea of Azov.
Press Release, 27 November: In view of Russia’s use of military force against Ukraine near the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, NATO Allies call on Russia to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports and allow freedom of navigation.
There is no justification for Russia’s use of military force against Ukrainian ships and naval personnel. We call on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized, without delay.
We call for calm and restraint.
We reiterate our full support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and territorial waters. We strongly condemn Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise. Russia’s construction and partial opening of the Kerch Strait bridge represents another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
NATO stands with Ukraine, and will continue to provide political and practical support to the country within the framework of our existing cooperation. NATO will continue to monitor the situation.