Washington, Dec 2 (IANS) US Defence Secretary James Mattis has criticized Russia over its naval confrontation with Ukraine, saying Moscow had “brazenly” violated its agreement with the eastern European country.
Mattis made the remarks at the Reagan National Defence Forum in Simi Valley, California, referring to the 2003 agreement between Russia and Ukraine that allowed ships of both sides free passage through the Kerch Strait, which separates the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, Xinhua news agency reported.
On November 25, the Ukrainian Navy said Russian forces opened fire and seized three Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait, injuring six Ukrainian military sailors.
Russia said the Ukrainian ships had breached the Russian border and conducted dangerous movements in spite of Russia’s orders.
The originally scheduled meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit was cancelled with the White House citing the Russian-Ukrainian animosity as the reason.