GT with PA logoCOPENHAGEN, 26 November 2018 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) expressed deep concern today over the escalation of tensions in the Kerch Strait between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, called for restraint, and reiterated support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“The seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels and the blocking of traffic into the Kerch Strait by Russia represents an unacceptable escalation of tensions between two participating States of the OSCE,” Tsereteli said. “Further steps that might lead to a military escalation must be avoided. Russia must avoid provocative acts, return the detained vessels to the Ukrainian authorities, and release any detainees in its custody.”

He continued: “As stated in the Helsinki Final Act, participating States must settle disputes by peaceful means in such a manner as not to endanger international peace and security. In many OSCE documents, including the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, OSCE participating States have committed to crisis management and peaceful settlement of disputes. Such incidents therefore represent serious breaches of OSCE commitments.

“I also reconfirm the position of the OSCE PA, as expressed in several resolutions, regarding our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including the autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sebastopol, and call on both sides to recommit to fully implementing the Minsk agreements in order to resolve the crisis. The OSCE PA will continue to watch the situation closely.”

President Tsereteli added that he wishes the injured Ukrainian service members a speedy recovery.