Ukraine calls on Putin to immediately release sailors by International Tribunal’s order

Ukraine calls on Putin to immediately release sailors by International Tribunal’s order

Ukraine demands the Russian Federation immediately release 24 illegally captured Ukrainian sailors in connection with the decision adopted by the UN International Tribunal the day before.

First Deputy Chairwoman of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Gerashchenko stated this during the Conciliation Board on Monday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“We welcome this decision, which was unanimously made by the best judges and international experts, except for Russia’s representative. We urge Putin and the Russian Federation to immediately release our sailors and vessels. And we emphasize that the world has recognized the full right of Ukraine to its neutral waters,” Gerashchenko said.

As Ukrinform reported, on May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian military ships and return them to the custody of Ukraine and to immediately release 24 captured sailors.

On November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yani Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded.

A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested all the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing. They are held in a remand prison in Moscow now.

On January 24, 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution officially requiring Russia to treat captured Ukrainian sailors in accordance with the Geneva Convention provisions on prisoners of war.

Ukraine appealed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea requiring the Russian Federation to release the captured naval vessels and return them to the custody of Ukraine, to suspend criminal proceedings against 24 detained sailors, to release them and allow them to return to Ukraine.


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