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ITLOS demands that Russia release Ukrainian sailors

The court stated it did not find any evidence of the Russian version of the Azov crisis
15:58, 25 May 2019
The permanent court, established in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, has satisfied Ukraine’s demands for interim measures that Russia must take. In particular, the court ordered the Russian Federation to immediately release the captured sailors' prisoners of war and allow them to return to Ukraine, Yevropeiska Pravda reports.

“The court considers it necessary to demand that Russia immediately release three detained Ukrainian ships - Nikopol, Berdyansk and Yany Kapu, 24 detained sailors, and allow them to return to Ukraine,” said Tribunal President Park Jin Heong.

The decision was supported by 19 judges. One voted against; it was Russian judge Kolodkin.

Russia did not send its official representative to the hearing, and also refused to provide materials, but according to the current international law, it is still obliged to comply with the decisions taken by the court.
Related: Day in Donbas: One Ukrainian soldier dead, another one wounded


The court noted that they did not find confirmation of the Russian official version regarding military provocation on the part of Ukraine.

"The secret invasion of Ukrainian sailors, on which Russia insists, seems very unlikely to the tribunal," the court said.

The court also agreed that Ukraine had exhausted all available opportunities to reach an agreement with Russia without going to court.

We recall, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards seized the Ukrainian Yana Kapu raid tug and small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol of the Naval Forces of Ukraine in the Kerch Strait area, using weapons.

As a result of the incident, 24 Ukrainian sailors were detained and arrested. They were transported from Crimea to the Moscow Lefortovo detention facility. In addition, three Ukrainian sailors wounded during the shelling by the Russians were transferred to the Prison Hospital.

Related: Ukrainian serviceman dies during combat in Azov Sea

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