Putin, Merkel can resolve Ukraine strait crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says 'understanding' between Putin, Merkel over Kerch Strait will soon be implemented

Putin, Merkel can resolve Ukraine strait crisis

The Russian and German leaders have reached a “certain understanding” over how to resolve the crisis between Ukraine and Russia over a strait next to Crimea, said Russia’s foreign minister on Tuesday.

The “understanding” between Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, reached in a phone call Monday night, will be implemented very soon, Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in Paris after meeting his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

No mediators are needed to put into action this plan, he said, but offered no further details.

In the brief news conference, Lavrov also urged Ukraine's Western backers to send a "strong signal" to Kiev to stop any "provocations" that might lead to incidents similar to Sunday’s confrontation.

Lavrov decried how -- in Moscow’s eyes -- Ukraine "intentionally provoked" Russia on Sunday, when three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea tried to enter the Kerch Strait to reach the Sea of Azov.

The incident ended up with three Ukrainian servicemen wounded and the vessels seized by the Russian military.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, viewed the annexation as illegal.

Ukraine has also blamed Russia for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.

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