Ukraine Demands Return of Ships Seized by Russia
The Russian Federation fired upon and seized the Ukrainian ships as they were transferring from Odesa to Mariupol
Ukraine is demanding the return of ships seized by the Russian Federation at the Kerch Strait last year.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to Moscow requesting the time and place that the Ukrainian military can pick up its warships, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
“I did say that we are ready to pick up these ships,” Prystaik said at a joint press briefing with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu in Kyiv today (Nov. 4).
“Russia deliberately continues to violate the rules and principles of international law. Until the ships are unconditionally returned to Ukraine’s control, the pressure on Russia must be continued. The international community must be aware of a violation of international law, namely the non-compliance with a continuing order,” Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Olena Zerkal posted on Facebook.
He added that upon their receipt, he would like to verify if there were traces of shelling on the ships and whether a delay in the return of the ships was linked to them being repaired to hide those traces.
“There is no delay on our part here. Our military are ready to arrive at any point and take away our ships,” Prystaiko said.
On November 25, 2018, Russian security forces fired on and seized three ships of the Ukrainian Navy off the coast of Russia-occupied Crimea. The ships – Berdiansk, Nikopol, and Yany Kapu – were heading from Odesa to Mariupol. Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors were captured during the attack, and three of them were wounded.
On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release the seamen and return the ships.
On Sep. 7, Ukraine and Russia exchanged detainees in the 35-for-35 format. Although the 24 Ukrainian sailors were returned as part of the exchange, Russia has yet to return Ukraine’s ships.
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