Ukrainian naval vessels captured by the Russian special service in 2018 were not involved in military activity. They tried to return to their port, as lawyer Marney Cheek said in her speech at the International Tribunal on Ukrainian POWs, Twitter post of Ukraine’s MFA Press Secretary Kateryna Zelenko reads.
“Ukrainian naval vessels were not involved in military activity, they tried to return to their port of registry,” the lawyer noted.
She stated that the dispute at the Tribunal concerns the immunity of the naval vessels from Russian national jurisdiction, and not from military activity.
The capture of Ukraine’s naval vessels does not fall within the exception regarding the military activity under the article No. 298 (1)(b) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In November 2018, 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.