UK docks warship in Ukraine in solidarity

Odessa: The United Kingdom docked its warship, the HMS Echo, here in solidarity with Ukraine in the wake of the Kerch Strait row with Russia.

British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement while mentioning, “…we also demonstrate our right to be able to come to ports such as Odessa, for freedom of navigation, for freedom for navies to be able to operate in the Black Sea. This isn’t Russia’s sea, this is an international sea.”

Sputnik further quoted Gavinson as saying, “What we are saying to Russia, what we are saying to President Putin – they cannot continue to act with no regard or care for international laws or international norms”.

The warship docked in Odessa on December 19 and is equipped with three six-barrel 7.62 machine guns, an M134 Minigun and 20 mm Erlikon anti-aircraft guns, according to Sputnik. Furthermore, the vessel is slated to undertake hydrographic research.

According to the 1936 Montreux Convention, the frigate can stay in the Black Sea for 21 days.
Following, the November 25 Kerch Strait incident, Kiev imposed martial law in border areas with Russia, that is supposed to come to an end on December 26.

Tense relations have prevailed between Russia and Ukraine since November 25, when Russia impounded two small gunboats and one tugboat belonging to Ukraine, along with the detaining the Ukrainian crew on board. Russia has since stated that Ukraine provoked the country by crossing the Russian maritime border despite Russia’s warning to stop.

Both the European Union and the United States have supported Ukraine amid the row and have slammed Russia while calling for the immediate release of the detained crewmen.