Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Urged to Open Azov Sea to Ukraine in Four-Way Joint Statement


Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine have called on Russia to ensure that Kiev keeps its freedom of navigation in the sea bordering Russia, annexed Crimea and Ukraine.

The four countries issued the joint statement in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty Tuesday a week after Russia returned three Ukrainian ships it had captured in the Kerch Strait near Russian-annexed Crimea last November. The strait is the only outlet for major Ukrainian ports and cities on the Sea of Azov, and Kiev argues that Moscow cannot deny it passage through the waterway.

The Swedish, Estonian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian foreign ministers said they “call on Russia to comply with its international commitments by ensuring unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, and by allowing freedom of navigation.”

The foreign ministers also said they recognized Russia’s return of the three captured Ukrainian vessels, according to the text published by the Ukrainian foreign ministry.

The countries issued the statement during President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to Tallinn and ahead of a four-way peace summit on eastern Ukraine set for Dec. 9 in Paris, Estonian media reported

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine plan to meet in an attempt to advance efforts for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.