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S&Ds stand by Ukraine and call on Russia to fully respect the freedom of navigation in the Azov Sea

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Today, the European Parliament is holding a debate on the situation in the Sea of Azov, a strategic arm of the Black Sea where Russia and Ukraine share the coastline. The S&D Group condemns the construction of the Kerch Bridge to the illegally occupied Crimean Peninsula by the Russian Federation without Ukraine's consent and call on the EU to offer mediation between Moscow and Kiev in order to find a peaceful solution.
S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs Victor Boştinaru said:
"The construction of the Kerch Bridge and the excessive inspections of vessels are yet another offensive of Russia against the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Ukraine. They limit, if not prevent, Ukrainian as well as EU vessels from navigating freely and reaching Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea. Inspections of up to 6 days-long are totally unacceptable.
"After the illegal annexation of Crimea, the backing of separatists in Eastern Ukraine, the suspension of gas supplies, unlawful elections in the occupied territories and cyber warfare, this is an additional move by Russia to destabilise Ukraine from all corners.
"Once again, the S&D Group stands by Ukraine, and calls on High Representative Mogherini to offer mediation between Kiev and Moscow in order to find a peaceful solution between the parties. It is in the interest of all EU member states to have free navigation in the Azov Sea, and to avoid a militarisation similar to the one of the Black Sea, which puts at risk the security of some EU countries.
"We reiterate, once again, that the occupation of Crimea is illegal under international law and call on Moscow and Kiev to fully respect the Minsk Agreements."

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