December 26, 2018 / 10:14 AM / 8 months ago

Russia asks West to try to calm its Kerch Strait tensions with Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian ships detained in Kerch Strait on Sunday are docked in this still image from video released by Russian Federal Security Service November 27, 2018. Russian Federal Security Service/Handout via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday it hoped Western countries would not take part in any Ukrainian attempt to stage what it called “a provocation” near the Kerch Strait and dissuade Kiev from escalating tensions in the area.

Ukraine said last week it planned to send warships to its Azov Sea ports via the Kerch Strait despite Russia’s seizure of three navy vessels and their crews in the area in November.

British defense minister Gavin Williamson visited Ukraine last week where he told his Ukrainian counterpart that the Black Sea did not belong to Russia and that Britain had sent a Royal Navy ship there to show Kiev did not stand alone.

Reporting by Andrew Osborn and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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