«This package provides for enhanced surveillance, including air surveillance, and increase in the number of NATO ships in the Black Sea to ensure the safe passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov,» Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, said at a briefing in Washington D.C., an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
According to her, the NATO Allies must make sure that these waters are open for unhindered shipping and “all of the NATO countries that live in the Black Sea and around the Black Sea are also under our security umbrella.”
In this regard, she recalled that Russia had been placing an increasing number of weapons in Crimea, which remains to be a part of Ukraine.
«It is very important that Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Georgia have security guarantees in the Black Sea both for shipping and for safety on land,» the ambassador stressed.
Hutchison also recalled the seizure of Ukrainian Navy ships and detention of crew members in November last year. «It is unacceptable that they are keeping Ukrainian sailors in Moscow prison right now. And, therefore, we intend to make sure that we have an opportunity to restrain a very aggressive Russia,» the U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO said.
A meeting of NATO foreign ministers will be held in Washington D.C. on April 3-4.