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Italy: EU, Ukraine urge Russia to immediately release captured ships

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin called for sanctions to be imposed on Russia as a response to the Kerch Strait incident on Thursday, at the 5th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan.

Klimkin described the Ukrainian sailors apprehended by the Russian Navy as “prisoners of war” and accused Russia of acts of aggression.

“Declarations are not enough. There must be action.” Klimkin told the council, arguing that the appropriate solution would be “increasing the cost for Russia, including with comprehensive and tailored sanctions.”

He also called on OSCE members to support a draft resolution on the militarisation of the Sea of Azov in the UN General Assembly.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini also spoke on the issue in her opening statements, calling for Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian ship and its crew, as well as calling for both sides to exercise “utmost restraint to de-escalate the situation.”

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