OSCE Permanent Council
29 November 2018
Statement by HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Ambassador of Australia to the OSCE
Ukraine: Developments in the Sea of Azov
Australia is concerned by the escalation of tensions in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. We are particularly concerned by the Russian Federation’s interception and seizure of Ukrainian naval personnel and vessels, which had been attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018.
Australia reaffirms our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and territorial waters. This includes Ukraine’s navigational rights in its territorial waters. We condemn the Russian Federation’s military build-up and aggressive actions in the region, which are further violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We do not recognise the Russian Federation’s purported annexation of Crimea.
We urge the Russian Federation to respect legitimate navigation rights, restore unhindered access to Ukraine’s ports, and release Ukraine’s vessels and sailors unconditionally and without delay. We call for restraint, de-escalation, and respect for the international rules-based order.