International court obliges Russia to release Ukrainian sailors
The International Court of Law of the Sea passed a resolution ordering Russia to return the Ukrainian sailors, who were detained in the Kerch Strait.
In accordance with the decision of the court sitting in Hamburg, Russia should release the Ukrainian sailors detained after the incident at the entrance to the Kerch Strait, and also return three warships to Kyiv, RIA Novosti reports. At the same time, the tribunal announced that it would not require Russia to close the criminal case against the Ukrainian crew.
The court’s statement also appeals to Moscow and Kyiv not to take steps that may aggravate the situation in the Kerch Strait area.
The court decision was made despite the fact that the Russian representatives were not present at the meetings. In Moscow, they believe that ITLOS did not have the authority to consider a lawsuit that the Ukrainian side filed.
At the end of November 2018, Russian border guards detained three ships of the Ukrainian Navy not far from Kerch — artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol, as well as a cruise tug Yany Kapu. According to the Russian side, the Ukrainian sailors entered the territorial waters of Russia and did not respond to the warnings. The sailors were arrested, now they are in the Moscow jail.
In turn, the Ukrainian authorities claim that Russia was warned about maneuvers. Kyiv regards Moscow’s actions as aggression. The Russian side considers the incident a provocation.