Russia to change nothing in case of captured Ukrainian sailors despite ITLOS order

Russia to change nothing in case of captured Ukrainian sailors despite ITLOS order

The Kremlin’s stance on the possibility of release of Ukrainian sailors illegally seized by Russian officers remains the same, despite the order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary, said in a commentary to the Vedomosti newspaper, Interfax reports.

"The stance cannot change. The investigation into the violation of the law on the border should be completed and trial should be held," Peskov said when asked whether the stance of the Kremlin has changed in connection with the order delivered by ITLOS.

As reported, on May 26, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 captured sailors. Both sides are to submit a report on enforcement of the order to the Tribunal within up to June 25, 2019.

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’s 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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