The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia stated that the transfer of three vessels, which were captured in the Kerch Strait in November 2018, to the Ukrainian side has already taken place. It was reported on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"These ships are material evidence in the ongoing criminal proceedings in Russia about the illegal crossing of our border. The transfer for safe storage to the Ukrainian side became possible due to the fact that the Russian competent authorities have completed the necessary investigative measures on the ships and their locating within the territory of the Russian Federation is not necessary in order to continue criminal proceedings," the message states.
The ministry also added that they intend to continue "cessation of provocations".
"The Russian side intends to continue harshly ceasing any provocations near its borders, as well as for the purpose of ensuring navigation safety in accordance with Russian law, bilateral treaties and other rules of international law," the statement informs.
At the same time, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Olena Zerkal informed that the Arbitration Tribunal of the International Court of Justice would hold a hearing on the violation of Ukraine’s rights as a coastal state in the Black, Azov Seas and Kerch Strait on November 21. Zerkal wrote about it on her Facebook page.
"While "Nikopol", "Berdyansk" and "Yany Kapu" are heading home to Odesa, the Foreign Ministry team heads to Hague, where the first hearing of the arbitration tribunal in the case of immunity of three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 members of their crew according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will be held on Thursday ... Our goal is to identify the violation of the law, to restore it and to receive the proper compensation," Zerkal wrote.
The Deputy Minister reminded that the political and diplomatic efforts of Ukraine and the partners for the release of sailors remained futile for a long time.
As we reported earlier, Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea Anton Korynevych stated that access to the temporarily occupied territory of the Crimea outside the Ukrainian checkpoints is illegal and promised to respond to it. Korynevych said this at a briefing in Kyiv, according to UNIAN.