Tension in the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait area must not be escalated, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said.
"Free passage of the Kerch Strait is guaranteed by the Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine about the cooperation on the usage of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. It was signed in 2003 and came into force in 2004," Jagland said in a statement shared by the Council of Europe.
"According to this Agreement, the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait are shared territorial waters. The Agreement must be respected. It is of utmost importance to avoid any further escalation in the region," Interfax cited the statement as saying.
Earlier, the FSB reported that three ships of the Ukrainian Navy — Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yany Kapu — had been seized after violating the Russian state border. The Ukrainian boats did not react to legal demands of the ships accompanying them and made dangerous maneuvers, the FSB added.