Ukraine should withdraw from the agreement with Russia on the Sea of Azov to ensure unhindered access to the area of any third countries' ships, suggests head of the Center for Military Legal Studies, Oleksandr Musienko, who commented on the possibility of changing the legal status of the Kerch Strait by the Ukrainian government.
"The first thing that had to be done was to denounce the agreement with Russia on the joint use of the Sea of Azov. Such ideas were proposed in the summer and autumn last year, in particular by the then President's Envoy for Crimea Boris Babin," Musienko told Obozrevatel.
At the time, the initiatives found no support, the expert adds.
Musienko recalled that at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council October 12, 2018, a decision was made to submit to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on internal waters, the territorial sea, with the definition of coastal and median lines, and other draft laws as well.
"After that, the cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation on the Sea of Azov was to be terminated. And, of course, the Kerch Strait would have been recognized as international. According to the norms of international law, the straits are free for passage by any ships, including those of third countries. This mustn't be discriminatory , as it is now, where we have to coordinate with Russia which ships can sail to the Ukrainian ports," he said.
According to the expert, Ukrainian diplomats and lawyers need to do their work and be prepared for fierce resistance on the part of the Russian Federation.
Then, Russia "will sooner or later be forced to make concessions and start executing such decisions."