November 26, 2018 / 8:11 AM / 20 days ago

Turkey says Kerch Strait must remain open after Russia-Ukraine standoff

Seized Ukrainian ships, small armoured artillery ships and a tug boat, are seen anchored in a port of Kerch, Crimea November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey said on Monday it was worried by reports that Ukrainian ships had been fired on off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea and said that shipping in the area should not be obstructed.

Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships in the Black Sea on Sunday after opening fire on them and wounding several sailors, a move that risks igniting a dangerous new crisis between the two countries.

The incident took place near the Kerch Strait linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Azov.

“As a country sharing a Black Sea coast, we underline that passage through Kerch Strait should not be blocked,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It also called for avoiding steps that could endanger stability and peace in the region.

Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Dominic Evans and Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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