On October 11, The Hague tribunal began hearings the case of Russia's illegal detention of three Ukrainian naval ships and 24 crew members when they passed through the Kerch Strait in 2018. This was reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
Hearings concerning the violation of the immunity of Ukrainian naval ships and their crews by the Russian authorities will continue in the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in accordance with Annex VII to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
(PCA is an international arbitral tribunal established to resolve international conflicts. Located in Hague (Netherlands). 122 states are members of the court.)
Russia has now exercised its right to challenge the jurisdiction of the Arbitration. According to the Foreign Ministry, Ukraine will respond to Russia's objections at oral hearings. Russia will present its position on October 11, and Ukraine - on October 12 The hearings will begin at 14:00 Kyiv time.
Earlier, on November 25, 2018, Russia seized 3 Ukrainian naval ships which were heading from the Black Sea to Azov. Ships: small armored artillery boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and a raid tug Yani Kapu - were intercepted by Russian ships in the Kerch Strait. The ship of the Russian border guards purposefully rammed the Ukrainian tug. Six Ukrainians were injured. On the same day, an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine began, during which the possibility of imposing martial law in the country was discussed.
Russia detained Ukrainian vessels for about a year, crew members - for 9 months, and prosecuted them under Russian law, in direct violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In 2019, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled Russia to release 3 Ukrainian ships and 24 crew members. On September 7, crew members were returned in a prisoner swap. On November 18, Russia returned the ships. However, the case is still pending before the arbitral tribunal. Ukraine aims to prove that the passage of ships through the Kerch Strait in 2018 was peaceful and legal, so Russia must be punished for violation of its rights. Russia, in turn, considers the passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait a provocation and denies the jurisdiction of the Arbitration.