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Concern over escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine in the Azov Sea

 “I am greatly concerned by the events on Sunday in which force was used and people were injured in the seizure of Ukrainian vessels in the Azov Sea,” PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier said.

“It is important to highlight that the basic rules of international law need to be respected. These rules include the right of freedom to navigate within one’s own territorial waters,” she said. In this context Ms Maury Pasquier called on Russia “to cease blockading or hindering passage in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait”.

“Both countries are members of the Council of Europe and they have committed themselves to the Statute of the Council of Europe which requires ‘the pursuit of peace based upon justice and international co-operation’, which ‘is vital for the preservation of human society and civilisation’.”

Ms Maury Pasquier concluded by appealing to both parties “to refrain from any further steps which might escalate tension and conflict, and instead turn to dialogue.”