Press release on the information forwarded to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea regarding the November 2018 incident in the Kerch Strait
On May 25, 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued a decision in the case brought by Ukraine regarding the incident in the Kerch Strait that by June 25 Ukraine and the Russian Federation must provide initial information regarding the execution of the Tribunal’s provisional measures order to release the sailors and ships. On June 25, the Russian Foreign Ministry sent the respective notes to the Tribunal and the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow.
The notes, in particular, draw attention to the fact that the hearings in the criminal case of the 24 Ukrainian sailors is ongoing, and also to the provisions in the criminal procedure legislation of the Russian Federation that can be used by the Ukrainian side at this stage to secure the release of the sailors and the ships.
At the same time the notes reaffirm the stance of the Russian Federation that the procedures for settling arguments under the UN Convention of the Sea are not applicable in this case. The Tribunal stated, among other things, that it does not predetermine the outcome of the hearing regarding the jurisdiction, which the Russian side intends to continue to challenge.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the Ukrainian side to the Russian note once again confirms that Ukraine is not so much interested in the sailors’ fate as in the opportunities to profit from the situation. It is clear that this was the main objective of the provocation staged by the previous Ukrainian leadership, which is criticised, among others, by the incumbent authorities in Kiev.