“Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) welcomes and echos the decision on May 25, 2019 of the UN maritime tribunal that Russia must release three Ukrainian naval vessels captured by Russia in November 2018 and release 24 detained sailors,” reads the statement published on the website of the UWC.
The UWC calls upon the international community to increase sanctions against Russia in response to its continued and escalating violations of international law.
“Russian vessels should be barred entry into all ports worldwide until Russia complies with this order. This is yet one more example of Russia’s continuing violation of international law and human rights violations,” stated UWC President Paul Grod.
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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