Kiev, Dec 29 (IANS) German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have urged Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors who were detained during tensions in the Sea of Azov, the media reported.
In their joint statement, Merkel and Macron on Friday said that the sailors should be released by the end of the current year, Xinhua reported citing the Ukrainian government-run Ukrinform news agency.
Besides, the two leaders also expressed their concerns over the situation in the Sea of Azov, and called for the free and safe passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait.
On November 25, Russian forces seized three Ukrainian naval ships as well as 24 sailors on board attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, for allegedly violating the Russian border.
Kiev has since constantly urged Moscow to release the captured sailors.