Ukraine urges G20 to influence Russia to release Ukrainian sailors

23:40, 25 June 2019
Politics
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REUTERS

The minister recalled that June 25 is the deadline for Russia set by the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to respond to its decision and release the Ukrainian sailors.

"Russia, of course, continues to pretend that it does not concern them," Klimkin wrote on Facebook, adding that all judges but the Russian one think otherwise.

The top diplomat noted that he had signed letters to the foreign ministers of the G20 and the European Union.

"I urge to use during the next G20 meeting in Osaka all possible levers of influence on the Russian Federation for the liberation of Ukrainian sailors," he wrote.

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He recalled that "our American friends said in Buenos Aires that without the release of Ukrainian seamen, there will be no meeting with the Russian president," and expressed confidence that the Russian reaction should be expected "in the near future."

The foreign minister is convinced that after the deadline passes, when Russia must inform the court about the implementation of the order to release the Ukrainian sailors, Ukraine has not only a moral but also a legal right to bring the matter to the consideration of the UN and other international organizations.

"And most importantly: Russia either fulfills the decision of international arbitration, or proves that it fails to comply with the so-called Constitution of international space – the Convention on the Law of the Sea. And neither does it respect the immunities, which are the basis of the concept of sovereignty," said Klimkin.

"Therefore, we will be talking with our friends and partners of the need to limit military cooperation with the Russian Federation and the lack of any reason to respect its immunities, and of many other things, too," added the foreign minister.

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As UNIAN reported earlier, on November 25, 2018, Russia blocked the passage through the Kerch Strait of the Yany Kapu tug boat and the Berdyansk and Nikopol naval boats, which were on a planned redeployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Sea of Azov's Mariupol. The aggressor forces captured 24 Ukrainian crew, with three of them being injured in the attack on the vessels. Ukrainians were charged with the "illegal border crossing" (Article 322 Part 3 of the Criminal Code of Russia) and are facing up to six years in prison. On April 16, 2019, Ukraine filed a suit with the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to ensure the release of prisoners and vessels.

On May 25, the UN court issued a ruling on the application of interim measures on Ukraine's claim to the Russian Federation, ordering that Russia release the sailors and the boats. At the same time, the tribunal did not satisfy Ukraine's request to oblige the Russian Federation to cease criminal prosecution of prisoners. According to the tribunal's ruling, until June 25, Russia must inform the court of the execution of the order for the release of Ukrainian crew and vessels.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has no jurisdiction to consider Ukraine's demands to release captured sailors and boats.

According to Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Integration, Olena Zerkal, the claim of Ukraine vs Russian Federation on the seizure of sailors and vessels will be considered on merits in a separate arbitration.

Today, June 25, Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the Russian president, said Moscow would ignore the requirement of the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to inform the court on June 25 that the order to release Ukrainian prisoners of war sailors and ships has been fulfilled.

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