U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that the United States calls on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to engage directly to resolve a recent escalation in the Black Sea.
"We call on both parties to exercise restraint and abide by their international obligations and commitments. We urge Presidents Poroshenko and Putin to engage directly to resolve this situation. In that regard, we reiterate our support for the Normandy Four format," Pompeo said in a press statement on November 26.
The United States expresses its deep concern over the incident in the Black Sea that occurred November 25 as Ukrainian vessels attempted to transit through the Kerch Strait, he said. "Reports that Russian vessels rammed and fired on the Ukrainian ships, injuring Ukrainian crewmen, before seizing three vessels, represent a dangerous escalation and a violation of international law," he said.
"The United States condemns this aggressive Russian action. We call on Russia to return to Ukraine its vessels and detained crew members, and to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters," Pompeo said.
The United States has reiterated it supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters, as well as the right of its vessels to traverse international waters. "As stated in our Crimea Declaration, the United States rejects Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea," Pompeo said.
Poroshenko's press service in turn reported about a phone conversation between the Ukrainian president and the U.S. Secretary of State.
Poroshenko informed Pompeo about the act of armed aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait committed by Russia, as well as the relevant steps of the Ukrainian side, in particular the introduction of the martial law regime.
"The two officials coordinated steps to further counteract Russian aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait," Poroshenko's press service said.