The leaders of France and Germany have demanded the release of Ukranian sailors captured by Russian troops along with their ships last month in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black Sea with the Azov Sea.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both made the demand in a statement.
“We demand safe, free and unimpeded transit for all ships through the Kerch Strait and the immediate and unconditional release of all illegally detained Ukrainian seafarers,” Merkel and Macron said in a joint statement.
“They too should be able to celebrate the upcoming festivities with their families,” they added.
Moscow accused the 24 sailors of illegally crossing the Russian border. Ukraine said Russia captured the two small gunboats and one tugboat illegally and accused Moscow of military aggression.