“It was extremely important for Russia to demonstrate that the jurisdiction of the tribunal does not apply to them. If only the sailors were released, it would look like they fulfilled the tribunal’s decision, and here it’s kind of like a big exchange. They’ve hidden behind it," Polozov said.
The lawyer noted that it is important for Russia to comply with the decision of the international tribunal, so the ships will be returned to Ukraine.
Earlier, it was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned 11 Ukrainian political prisoners and 24 Ukrainian sailors. In turn, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky pardoned 16 people, including three women.
A large exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia according to the 35-by-35 formula took place on September 7. Ukrainian prisoners flew to the Boryspil airport, where they were met by Ukrainian President, other senior officials and, of course, their relatives.
As we reported earlier, on November 25, coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian ships were rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.
All 24 sailors on board were captured and delivered to Moscow – 21 of them were delivered to Lefortovo remand center, the rest came to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.
Facing an extension of the sentence term, Ukrainian POWs detained in the Kerch Strait refused to testify in Lefortovo court. Sailors were distributed into six groups, four people in each. On January 15, 2019, Moscow's Lefortovo district court decided to keep 20 Ukrainian sailors in remand until April 24. On January 16, the court extended the detention term for another 4 sailors.