November 27, 2018 / 9:45 AM / 22 days ago

Austrian minister: Must solve Russia-Ukraine conflict without weapons

Austria's Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl smiles after her address to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 26, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Russia and Ukraine should de-escalate the situation in the Sea of Azov and solve the conflict without the use of force, Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said on Tuesday.

“De-escalation is the commandant of the hour,” Kneissl told the Berlin Security Conference, urging dialogue through the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “It’s important to solve this conflict verbally and not with weapons.”

Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law for 30 days in parts of the country most vulnerable to an attack from Russia. President Petro Poroshenko said that was necessary to bolster Ukraine’s defenses after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and took their crew prisoner at the weekend.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Joseph Nasr

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