Ukrainian, British defense chiefs discuss Kerch Strait tensions

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KIEV, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson met on Friday and discussed the recent tensions in the Kerch Strait, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said.

During the meeting in Ukraine's southern port city of Odessa, Poltorak informed Williamson of the seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors near the Kerch Strait last month, saying it was a "provocation" against the Ukrainian Navy.

For his part, Williamson said that Britain will support Ukraine in tough times and stressed the need to ensure access of international organizations to the sailors captured during the Kerch incident.

Later in the day, Poltorak and Williamson met the relatives of the captured sailors and visited British Royal Navy's multi-role hydrographic survey ship HMS Echo that arrived at Odessa port on Dec. 19 for a friendly visit.

On Nov.25, Russian forces seized three Ukrainian naval ships and 24 sailors in the Kerch Strait separating the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, saying the Ukrainian ships breached its border.

Ukraine called Russia's actions an "act of aggression" and urged Moscow to release the captured ships and sailors. Enditem

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