The laying down keels of two warships at a building dock in occupied Kerch is a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and the evidence of the Crimea militarisation by the Russian Federation, the European External Action Service’s press centre declares.

“The Russian Federation’s ongoing efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, accompanied by further attempts to forcibly integrate the illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia, are a violation of international law. The recent ceremony of laying down keels of two assault ships in Kerch is another obvious step in the peninsula’s militarisation increase. That significantly exerts downward pressure on regional security in the Black Sea,” the statement said.

Besides, the European Union is concerned about the freedom of movement restriction for Ukrainian citizens to Crimea and back.

“The access to mainland Ukraine and the right to return to one’s place of residence must be unconditionally guaranteed and must not require Russian passports. The European Union will further expect Russia to stop all violations of international law on the Crimean Peninsula. The European Union is steadfast in supporting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” the EU states.

Natalia Tolub

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