Ukraine continues the trial with Russia in the case of the seizure of warships in the Kerch Strait

Ukraine submitted the Memorandum against the Russian Federation in the case of the seizure of Ukrainian sailors and ships in the Black Sea in November 2018 to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

The document was signed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Yevhen Yenin, who is Ukraine’s agent in this case.

«We would not like revenge, we require just justice. And all of us – I am, as a minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs team, the Government, the President Office, our legal advisers, the General Prosecutor Office, everybody involved in this process, is longing for only one thing, it is justice, and we will receive it by any available means, particularly by means of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea», the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said, commenting on the signing of the Memorandum.

According to him, this decision has become a clear signal for all the world, that Russia had no right to violate international law with impunity.

As Yevhen Yenin noted, «this document contains the facts, evidence, and testimony of witnesses about Russia’s violations of international conventions that had taken place in 2018 in the Kerch Strait. There is also a victorious decision for Ukraine, due to which the International Maritime Tribunal ordered Russia to release three of our ships – «Berdyansk», «Nikopol», «Yani-Kapu» and 24 Ukrainian sailors and return them to Ukrainian jurisdiction almost a year ago».

According to him, this decision has become a clear signal for all the world, that Russia had no right to violate international law with impunity.

The Memorandum also sets out Ukraine’s requirements, which are the following:

  1. The Kremlin must stop criminal cases against the Ukrainian sailors.
  2. Ukraine must get the evidence that Russia will not violate the immunity of warships in the future.
  3. Moscow has to pay appropriate compensation to the State of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Navy, and to the captured sailors.

«The decision on the further course of consideration will be made by the arbitral tribunal, which can, respectively, either divide the process into two stages: jurisdictional and, factual or combine them into one case and consider as a whole. We are waiting for the decision of the tribunal at the end of 2022 – beginning of 2023», Yenin said.

As it was noted Russia has three months to express its objections in this case.

In Hague, the official Kyiv seeks that a court admits that the Russian Federation had violated Article 32 of the Convention, according to which warships and their crews had the absolute immunity in both territorial and neutral waters. Accordingly, the capture and shelling of the ships which carried out peacefully their transit, as well as the detention of seafarers by Russia, are the direct violation of the Convention proceedings.

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