Kiev seeks consultations of Budapest memo signatories over Kerch Strait standoff

A Ukrainian serviceman stands on board a coast guard ship in the Sea of Azov port of Mariupol eastern Ukraine Monday Dec. 3

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"We will not, however, comment on the nature of our diplomatic correspondence with the Government of Turkey", reported the cable network, quoting a State Department spokesman.

The U.S. military has started the preparations to dispatch a warship into the Black Sea amid the tension between Russian Federation and Ukraine over the Kerch Strait incident, reported U.S. media on Wednesday.

"We reserve the right to operate freely in accordance with worldwide laws and norms", he said.

The vessels were attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait, which is located between Russia's mainland and the Crimean Peninsula that Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The drill came as Kiev has accused Moscow of planning to seize two of its strategic port cities.

The Russian moves have restricted access for Ukrainian ships to the Sea of Azov and Mariupol, an important Ukrainian trade port.

"As stated in the letter, Parubiy thanked Pence "for the permanent support of Ukraine" and informed on the events of 25 November 2018, when the Russian Federation, violating the sovereignty of Ukraine and worldwide law, attacked the Ukrainian boat "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol", as well as inshore tug "Yana Kapu", captured them, wounding and capturing Ukrainian sailors".

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Russian Federation ultimately seized three ships, and 24 Ukrainian sailors, and has put them on trial on charges of illegal border crossing and other charges. Ukraine has declared martial law in some regions and banned entry to Russian men aged 16 to 60.

Ukraine says Russian Federation had blocked traffic around the Kerch Strait, but Russian Federation says the passage has been operating as usual, except for weather-related delays.

Russian Federation has "partially unblocked" Ukraine's ports on the Azov Sea, allowing ship traffic though the Kerch Strait, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan said Tuesday in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

According to CNN, the last US ship to enter the Black Sea was the fast transport ship USNS Carson City in October.

The rules of the pact say that countries that do not possess a coastline on the Black Sea are needed to offer Turkey atleast 15 days cognizance before altering the straits.

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