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Poroshenko's Allegation of Russian Plot to Seize Azov Ports 'Absurd' - Kremlin

© Sputnik / Alexey Malgavko / Go to the mediabankThe detained Ukrainian ships are delivered to the port of Kerch
The detained Ukrainian ships are delivered to the port of Kerch - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The statement of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about Russia's alleged plan to seize Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk is "absurd;" it is Kiev's attempt to provoke tensions, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

"This statement is completely absurd. In fact, it is yet another attempt to somehow provoke tensions. It is clear that, unfortunately, such attempts will most likely continue as the elections in Ukraine become nearer. Russia has never seized anything and is not making corridors anywhere. This is a completely groundless statement regarding Russia," Peskov told reporters when asked to comment on Poroshenko's words.

READ MORE: Kerch Strait Incident: Ex-German FM Says Kiev Seeking to Drag Berlin Into War

Last week, the Ukrainian president told German Funke Media Group that Russia was allegedly planning to seize these two cities in order to have a land corridor between Crimea and Donbas. Poroshenko did not provide any evidence and cited only the recent incident in the Kerch Strait, when Russia detained the Ukrainian seamen who crossed the Russian border illegally, as a sign of such plans on Russia's part.

On Traffic in the Kerch Strait

Kiev’s claims that shipping traffic has been restricted in the Kerch Strait are untrue, Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"They are untrue. There is a certain procedure for technical notification of the Kerch port authority, so there are no restrictions there. Quite intensive international navigation is underway there," Peskov said when asked to comment on Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Lavrenyuk's statement that Russia was obstructing the passage of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait.

However, Peskov said navigation was sometimes suspended to ensure the safety of sea navigation with account for the weather conditions, which, he said, was common international practice.

READ MORE: Navigation Via Kerch Strait Resumed After Weather-Related Suspension — Agency

Speaking further, the spokesman noted that a telephone conversation between Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko following the incident in the Kerch Strait had not yet taken place and was not scheduled in the coming days.

“I can only confirm to you that there really hasn’t been a telephone conversation between Putin and Poroshenko so far after the incident, and at the moment, as far as I know, in the coming days, such a conversation is not planned,”  Peskov said.

Khashoggi Murder Investigation

Moscow notes Riyadh's readiness to participate in the investigation into the murder of opposition Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"The Russian side has its own relations with Saudi Arabia. We note Saudis' readiness to participate in the investigation. We are interested in continuing the bilateral Russian-Saudi relations," Peskov told reporters, when asked to comment on the warm greetings that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shared on Saturday at the G20 summit amid claims of Salman's possible involvement in the murder.

READ MORE: US Lawmaker Demands Lobby Firms Detail Dealings With Riyadh Amid Khashoggi Case

Peskov added that Putin and Salman had had "quite an efficient and meaningful discussion" on the sidelines of the summit.

According to Peskov, the leaders have discussed not only the Russian-Saudi bilateral relations but the two countries' cooperation within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"So, contacts on the highest level are being conducted, and this is based on our interest to develop our bilateral relations further," Peskov concluded.

Khashoggi went missing on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi Prosecutor General's Office has since concluded that he was killed inside the consulate by lethal injection before his body was dismembered and removed from the building.

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