Claim of the Permanent Committee of Free Russia Forum in relation to the incident in the Kerch Strait.
of the Permanent Committee of Free Russia Forum in relation to the incident in the
Yesterday, Russia committed another act of aggression against Ukraine. This time the Russian Marine Forces attacked Ukrainian ships that were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait. Three Ukrainian ships were fired upon and commandeered. Several Ukrainian sailors were hurt.
The Permanent Committee of the Free Russia Forum has censured the annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression against Ukraine several times. Yesterday’s incident is just one episode in a war that has lasted several years, which Putin’s regime has waged against Ukraine. The event proves that the Kremlin will never stop its aggression on its own, not until it is severely enalized by the international community.
It is important to note that attack against the Ukrainian ships is a direct violation of international law. According to Part 1, Article 2 of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine about cooperation in the use of the Azov sea and the Kerch Strait, trade vessels and military ships, as well as other state vessels used for non-commercial purposes, have freedom of navigation in the Azov sea and the Kerch Strait. According to Article 4 of the stated agreement, disputes between parties associated with interpretation and application of this agreement are to be resolved by consultation and negotiation, as well as other peaceful means, according to the parties’ choices. And the Preamble of this agreement clearly states that all matters concerning the Azov sea and the Kerch Strait shall be resolved only by peaceful means together or by agreement of Russia and Ukraine. This agreement was signed by the Russian Federation and is still in force.
Thus Putin’s regime has again violated international law, not to mention the blatant manner in which it did so, demonstrating its conviction of continued impunity.
It should also be noted that this act of aggression coincides with the worsening of social and economic conditions in Russia and a significant reduction in Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings. It appears that Putin has again tried to divert the attention of the Russian people from domestic political problems to a manufactured conflict between Russia and the West. External aggression has been a recurring tactic of his to strengthen his regime inside the country.
The Permanent Committee of the Free Russia Forum categorically condemns this attack on Ukrainian ships by the Russian Marine Forces and calls on the international society to react with a sense of urgency and gravity.