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Putin says Russia ready to respect Azov Sea accord with Ukraine

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov listens as Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during annual news conference in Moscow, Russia December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he was willing to respect a Russian-Ukrainian accord governing the joint use of the Azov Sea and that Moscow wanted to normalise the situation around the waters.

Moscow last month seized three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews off Crimea, accusing them of illegally entering Russian waters.

Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya, Maria Kiselyova, Andrew Osborn, Polina Ivanova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Maria Kiselyova