Ukraine: Russia 'partially' unblocks Sea of Azov after Kerch clash

Госдеп призвал власти РФ освободить украинских моряков и грозит последствиями

The armed forces are also planning military exercises in two regions near Crimea, which Moscow annexed after protests forced out a Russia-friendly government in Kiev in 2014.

"Yes, indeed, the talks haven't taken place, but this doesn't mean that we ceased all contacts", Putin said during a December 1 press conference in Argentina.

The worldwide Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) has, he said, helped to manage the relationship and avoid such "incidents".

"Russia has developed, produced and deployed a new missile", Stoltenberg was cited as saying by Efe news.

Kiev says the sailors did nothing wrong, and its ships have the right to pass through the strait to reach Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin pressed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to come up with a "comprehensive answer" to Russian aggression in the Black Sea, as the alliance treads carefully for fear of further escalating tensions. According to a Ukrainian official, Russians have reversed the closure of the Kerch Strait, more than a week after opening fire on three Ukrainian ships and taking dozens of sailors hostage.

Mathieu Boulegue, a research fellow with Russian Federation and Eurasia program at London's Chatham House think tank, said Poroshenko's move appeared to be "an attention-seeking reaction" that is likely to antagonize Moscow even further and play badly with the worldwide community.

Relations between the two neighbours have been further strained over a November 25 incident in which the Russian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews. The incident has triggered a crisis that has raised fears of a wider conflict.

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Merkel spoke to reporters Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires after holding a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Russian Federation continues to hold 24 Ukrainian sailors detained in the November 25 incident, despite demands from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for their release from detention centers in Moscow.

The incident occurred on the Kerch Strait, which separates Russian Federation from Crimea and connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Speaking as NATO Foreign Ministers began two days of talks on critical issues for the West's security, Mr Stoltenberg called for transparency from Moscow as concerns about its increased sabre-rattling continued to grow. "And it could reach European cities, with little or no warning".

In the past few days, Russian Federation has denied admittance to Ukrainian citizens, even groups of 40 to 50 people, mostly men, without an explanation, he said.

"It is urgent that Russian Federation ensures full compliance in a transparent and verified way because the INF treaty is so important for our security", he added.

He told reporters: "We will address Russian Federation destabilising behaviour".

But Moscow's annexation of Crimea gave it control of not just one but both sides of the strait.

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