"We tried to expand the OSCE mission to the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, but Russia rejected it. Now we are trying to ensure that at least representatives from Germany and France could observe the passage of ships there", Merkel said in Bundestag.
The Russian side assured that reasonable navigation in the Sea of Azov was possible, according to the chancellor. "But we need actions," Merkel stressed.
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 arrested by Russia after failing to respond to a demand to stop.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election. The martial law would affect the campaign, set to start in late December, amid Poroshenko's low approval rating, Putin said.