Ukraine’s foreign minister is demanding the release and safe return of 24 Ukrainian sailors captured by Russian military forces in the Black Sea.

Pavlo Klimkin told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Thursday that even though Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 has dominated the group’s agenda for the past five years, Russia “has not pulled back.”

Instead, he said, it has extended operations into the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia have been further strained following a Nov. 25 clash in which the Russian coast guard fired upon and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews.

The OSCE is holding a ministerial meeting in the Italian city of Milan.

Source: The Associated Press

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