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Ukraine, EU consider it important to coordinate intl efforts for stability in Black Sea region – statement

KYIV. Oct 12 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine and the EU have agreed on the importance of coordinating international efforts to strengthen resilience to growing threats to security and stability in the Black Sea region, according to a joint statement following the 23rd Ukraine-EU summit.

"We continue to call on Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage to and from the Sea of Azov, in accordance with international law. We condemn the Russian decision to close parts of the Black Sea to non-Russian military and state vessels and we call on Russia to refrain from impeding the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms," the joint statement reads.

In addition, Ukraine and the EU condemned the strengthening of the militarization of Crimea, the serious deterioration of the human rights situation there, as well as the restriction of the freedom of Ukrainian citizens to enter and leave the Crimean peninsula.

"We condemned the holding of the elections to the Russian Federation State Duma that took place in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula and that also involved residents of the non-government controlled territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine on 17-19 September 2021 against the spirit and objectives of the Minsk Agreements," the statement reads.

Ukraine and the EU called on the Russian Federation to provide international organizations and human rights defenders with unhindered access to areas that are not yet under Ukrainian control, including the Crimean peninsula, and to respect international humanitarian law.

Ukraine and the Russian Federation called for the immediate release of all illegally detained and imprisoned on the Crimean peninsula and in Russia, including Crimean Tatar activists.