Volker set the deadline for Kremlin: To release the Ukrainian sailors before Christmas. Otherwise, the US will consider the issue of strengthening and imposing new sanctions.

05 December 2018, 16:32

Russia must release Ukrainian sailors by making a gesture of goodwill on the eve of Christmas and the New Year, according to the US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiation Kurt Volker.

He stated that the United States will consider the issue of strengthening and imposing new sanctions in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation at the Kerch Strait.

Some of our European allies spoke about additional sanctions or the tightening of current measures. I think this is a worthy factor, will have a look at that as effectively, exhibiting that we’re unified in pushing again on Russia.

Volker noted that the sailors had been unreasonably attacked in open waters and were arrested. The US special envoy urged Russia to resume dialogue with Ukraine on the basis of the 2003 Cooperation Treaty in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

The territories of both countries have access to the Sea of Azov. Two countries have the right and the need to use the sea for traffic, and Russia must return to this.

Earlier, the US State Department stated that in case Russia refuses to release the Ukrainian seamen, the Russian Federation “will have consequences and the pain will only grow with time.” The statement of the State Department noted that Washington will monitor the situation with the Ukrainian sailors.