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Germany condemns Russian naval restrictions in Black Sea

BERLIN — Germany on Monday criticized Russia’s announcement that it was closing off three areas of the Black Sea for months to foreign warships.

The restrictions came into effect on Saturday evening and were to remain in place through Oct. 31, Russian news agencies reported, citing the country's Defence Ministry.

"Restrictions on the so-called peaceful passage through coastal waters lasting for such a long period of time are without precedent and problematic from an international law perspective," said German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger.

"As far as international waters and the coastal waters of illegally annexed Crimea are affected, we consider this to be a breach of international law," he told reporters in Berlin. "We continue to urgently examine the situation there and also the legal position."

According to Russian media reports, the restrictions apply to an area along the Crimean coastline between Sevastopol and Gurzuf, an area near the Kerch Peninsula, and an area near the western tip of Crimea.

The international community refuses to recognize the annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in March 2014.

The Associated Press