Merkel and Putin Agreed to Four-Way Talks on Kerch Strait

Russia is resisting international calls to release three Ukrainian naval ships.
Merkel and Putin Agreed to Four-Way Talks on Kerch Strait
01 December 20:44 2018 Print This Article

Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia will hold further talks at the advisor level about a shipping standoff in the Kerch Strait, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, urging Moscow to let Ukrainian vessels enter the Sea of Azov.

“All escalations must be avoided,” Merkel told reporters after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. “The freedom of shipping traffic in the Sea of Azov …. must be ensured.”

Merkel said Germany had suggested — and Russia agreed — that discussions about the dispute should continue at the advisor level in the four-way Normandy format that has sought to ease tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Merkel called on Russia to honor a 2003 treaty that sets out the conditions under which Ukrainian ships may enter the Sea of Azov and reach Ukrainian cities. “Russia must stick to this,” she said.

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