The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Anders Samuelsen, and the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tomáš Petříček, jointly visit eastern Ukraine and the port city of Mariupol together with their Ukrainian colleague Mr. Pavlo Klimkin.
The visit to the frontline city of Mariupol sends a signal of the two countries’ strong support for Ukraine. It provides an opportunity to get a first-hand impression of the human and economic hardship caused by the conflict with Russia-backed armed formations in Eastern Ukraine. A hardship that has only increased in Mariupol and the surrounding areas by recent Russian actions at the Kerch Strait and in the Sea of Azov. Denmark and the Czech Republic strongly condemn the Russian actions and call on Russia to immediately release the 24 illegally detained crewmembers of the Ukrainian vessels seized on November 25, 2018. If the crewmembers are not released, the EU should stand ready to look at new, targeted measures against Russia. Russia must ensure unhindered and free passage through the Kerch Strait to and from the Azov Sea and must halt its harassment of ships on their way to Ukrainian ports.