UNGA Approves Ukraine Resolution on Navigation in Azov, Black Seas

© AP Photo / ASSOCIATED PRESSA view of the new bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Russia's Taman Peninsula with Crimea, after regular traffic began, in Kerch, Crimea, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
A view of the new bridge across the Kerch Strait linking Russia's Taman Peninsula with Crimea, after regular traffic began, in Kerch, Crimea, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United Nations General Assembly passed by a 2/3 majority vote Ukraine's draft resolution calling on Russia to stop restricting international navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

"The result of the vote is as follows: in favor — 66, against — 19, abstention — 72. Draft resolution [titled Militarization of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov] is adopted," a UN official presiding over the plenary meeting announced on Monday.

Aug. 30, 2018, a team from the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham inspects a dhow while conducting maritime security operations - Sputnik International
US Not Mulling Military Response to Kerch Strait Incident - Pentagon Official
The draft resolution A/73/L.43 expresses "its grave concern over the progressive militarization of Crimea by the Russian Federation as the occupying Power" as well as "over reports of the continuing destabilization of Crimea owing to transfers by the Russian Federation of weapon systems, including nuclear-capable aircraft and missiles, weapons, ammunition and military personnel to the territory of Ukraine," the text of the document says.

The document also expresses its concern over "multiple military exercises of Russian armed forces held in Crimea, which can undermine regional security and entail considerable long-term negative environmental consequences in the region." The resolution condemns the building of the Kerch Strait bridge between Russia and the Crimean peninsula, the growing military presence of Russia in the region, and the country’s alleged harassment of commercial vessels and restriction of international shipping.

READ MORE: State Dept Says Kerch Incident Should Remind EU Why Nord Stream 2 'a Bad Idea'

Moreover, the document states that it is alarmed by the militarization of parts of the Black Sea surrounding the Crimea and the Sea of Azov by Russia adding that these actions "pose further threats to Ukraine and undermine the stability of the broader region."

The list of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution includes France, Georgia, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Moldova, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others.

Commenting on the approval of the Ukraine-sponsored draft resolution, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said that it is disappointing to observe the "extremely politicized" document being adopted by the United Nations.

WATCH Ukrainian Ships Seized by Russian Border Guard After Kerch Strait Incident

 "It is disappointing that Kiev and its Western sponsors of the General Assembly have submitted yet another extremely politicized and mendacious subject," Polyanskiy said on Monday. "We regret the vote that has happened, but we are heartened that many states abstained not wishing to have anything with this pernicious Ukrainian enterprise."

The resolution follows the recent incident in the Kerch Strait that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The document urges Russia to stop restricting international navigation in the region.

Several Ukrainian warships crossing Russia’s territorial waters and attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait - Sputnik International
US Not Ruling Out New Sanctions Against Russia Over Kerch Strait - State Dep't
On November 25, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian vessels were seized by Russia after failing to respond to a demand to stop.

Following the incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree declaring martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law ahead of Ukraine's presidential election.

Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014, when 97 percent of those who participated in the referendum on the matter supported the reunification. The results of the vote were rejected by almost all countries, including Ukraine, which insists that Crimea is still a part of its territory. Moscow, in turn, repeatedly stated that the referendum was held in accordance with international law and was legitimate, stressing that Crimean residents voluntarily chose to rejoin Russia.

READ MORE: Germany, France Tried to Ensure Presence of Observers in Kerch Strait — Merkel

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday Moscow was sure Kiev would continue provocations on the Russian border, stressing that he had information about Poroshenko planning a provocative incident for the end of December. The Russian foreign minister pledged a harsh response in case Poroshenko went ahead with the plans.


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