Ukraine conducts no dredging operations in Kerch strait

Ukrainian border guards haven't yet launched any dredging operations in the Kerch strait, which divides Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and Russia's Taman Peninsula.

Talking to RIA Novosti, Sergei Poddubny, spokesman for the state Ukrainian border-control service's Azov - Black Sea regional department, noted that a dredge, which was now located in the strait, had been switched on several times. However, no large-scale dredging operations got underway, he added.

In Poddubny's words, two 38-meter lighters must be removed for the sake of dredging operations; meanwhile both vessels are now located along the state border opposite a Russian dam, which was constructed not so long ago.

Talking to RIA-NOVOSTI a bit earlier, officials at the Crimean emergency-situations ministry said that the dredge and four excavators will be activated, in case the dam crosses the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Ukrainian border guards continue to stay on Tuzla island, Poddubny noted. In his words, about 40 units of equipment are increasing the dam's height and breadth rather actively round the clock. Meanwhile the Russian side stopped extending the dam October 23; the dam is now located 102 meters from the state border.

Russian and Ukrainian Prime Ministers Mikhail Kasyanov and Victor Yanukovich negotiated in Moscow October 24.

Yanukovich said, after arriving in Kiev, that Ukraine will examine a Russian proposal on withdrawing border guards from Tuzla island at expert level. In his words, the decision to set up a border outpost on Tuzla island is a defensive measure, which was provoked by the Russian side's refusal to stop building the dam.

The Ukrainian Government's press center issued a statement the other day, noting that Ukraine had no intention to withdraw its border troops from Tuzla island posthaste.

Ukrainian and Russian Foreign Ministers Konstantin Grishchenko and Igor Ivanov are to meet each other October 30 in Kiev, discussing the situation in the Kerch strait, as well as some issues.

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