"Russia’s purpose is to occupy the Azov Sea, the same way it did Crimea. This is a brutal violation of international law, and we cannot accept it. We are strengthening our military there and launching a case against Russia in the international Permanent Court of Arbitration," Poroshenko said in an interview with The Washington Post, the press service of the Head of State reports.
As Poroshenko noted, Ukraine has absolutely clear legal status in the Azov Sea, and if Russia does not stop its illegal activity, there will be need to impose sanctions. "Russia has no right to attack or stop our vessels, which carry goods and passengers from two important Ukrainian ports, Mariupol and Berdyansk. If Russia does not stop, we have only one instrument, which is sanctions," he said.
According to the Ukrainian President, the sanctions are needed to halt the potential danger of the Russian occupation of Azov. "If they block a vessel with Ukrainian iron and steel products from Mariupol for one day, the cost is thousands of dollars," he underscored.
In addition, the President of Ukraine said, Russians are attacking Ukrainian fishermen in Ukrainian waters all the time — the Russians arrest them, stop them and endanger them. This is part of the hybrid war against Ukraine that Russia has carried out since 2014, Poroshenko noted.
As he added, it is absolutely not true that sanctions against Russia are not effective.
"Sanctions stop Russia’s GDP growth, they stop the increase of Russian living standards, and they devalue the Russian currency. The Russian leadership pays a very high price for sanctions, which can keep Russia at the negotiating table and stop the aggression," Poroshenko said.
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