The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed indignation at the Western sanctions imposed on Russian citizens over the Kerch Strait incident, TASS reported.
"An attempt was made once again to score political points by means of the November 2018 Kerch Strait incident provoked by Ukraine. The EU made an outrageous decision a few days ago, blacklisting a number of Russian citizens, including our border guards who took part in the operation to foil the Ukrainian provocation," the ministry said in a commentary posted on its website on Monday.
The European Union’s and NATO’s support for the Ukrainian version of the incident is fueling militaristic sentiment in Kiev, the foreign ministry stressed. "The same is true of allegations about the ‘ongoing militarization of Crimea’ and ‘obstacles’ for the free passage of vessels in the Sea of Azov," the ministry said.
For their part, Russian diplomats pointed to the militarization of the Black Sea region by the West, citing as an example the deployment of US missile defense systems in Romania, patrol missions and intelligence activities near Russia’s borders and an increase in the duration of NATO warships’ presence in the Black Sea.
The United States, the European Union, Canada and Australia earlier imposed personal sanctions on several military servicemen and employees of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) over the Kerch Strait incident.
On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian naval ships violated the rules of navigation through Russia’s territorial waters on the way from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Military force had to be used to stop them in the Kerch Strait. The ships were brought to Kerch. A criminal case was opened over the violation of Russia’s state border.