Erdogan Says Communicated Request To Release Ukrainian Sailors To Putin
Fakhir Rizvi 8 days ago Fri 07th December 2018 | 08:42 PM
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he had conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin a request to release the Ukrainian sailors who were detained for illegally crossing Russia's state border.
"After the [Kerch Strait] incident I spoke to both sides, I had a phone conversation with Putin and [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko at first and then in Argentina [at the G20 summit]. I conveyed a request for sailors' release to Putin. We will look forward to further developments. I hope that it will receive a positive response. As far as I know, the process of investigation into the incident is currently ongoing, and decision will be taken afterwards," Erdogan told journalists.
According to the Turkish leader, in such cases "we can only make a request, we cannot go further."
On November 25, three ships of the Ukrainian Navy � Berdyansk, Nikopol, and Yany Kapu � breached the Russian border, entered Russian territorial waters that were temporarily closed, and began moving toward the Kerch Strait, which serves as an entrance into the Sea of Azov.
The Ukrainian vessels and their crew were detained by Russia after failing to respond to a lawful demand to stop.
In response to the incident, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the decree on the martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine. Putin said the provocation could be linked to Poroshenko's low approval rating ahead of the presidential campaign set to start in late December.