Russia refuse to participate in hearings of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the release of the Ukrainian sailors, as Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine on European integration Olena Zerkal reported on Facebook.
“Russia informed that it would not participate in the hearings on the temporary measures in the case of immunity of the Ukrainian naval vessels and members of its crew in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Russia’s consecutive failure to take part in the hearings does not reduce the legitimacy of the case on the release of the Ukrainian sailors and the hearings will be held as scheduled – on May 10, 2019 in Hamburg,” she wrote.
Zerkal stressed that the arguments of both sides, written documents and disentanglement of the speeches, will be available during the hearings.
According to her, the Tribunal will decide on the case till late May.
“Even if Russia will present the decision to release Ukrainian sailors as a big favor to the President-elect Zelensky, the whole civilized world will realize that in fact, it’s not a favor, but the Tribunal’s decision,” Deputy Foreign Minister wrote.
On April 16, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry appealed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea concerning the release of the Ukrainian sailors detained in Moscow.
Later it was reported that court sessions on interim measures against Russia for violation of immunities of three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 Ukrainian sailors are scheduled for May 10-11.
On November 25, the 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.