Update: Ukraine vs. Russia at Permanent Court of Arbitration

On the first day of a multi-day hearing, Russia presented their case in The Hague


Photo from Ukrinform – UATV

On June 10, 2019, the positions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation concerning the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Tribunal in the case concerning the coastal state rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait were published on the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

In particular, Russia is of the opinion that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction over Ukraine’s claim as the Tribunal cannot determine which state is sovereign over the land territory of Crimea, the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine reports.

Ukraine presented evidence that, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea has universally been accepted, including by Russia, as a part of Ukraine.

“It is this unquestioned status that the [United Nations] General Assembly acknowledged in its resolutions, and that its call for non-recognition continues,” the Ministry stated.

The dispute before the Tribunal concerns Russia’s actions at sea. Specifically, it concerns Russia’s theft of billions of dollars’ worth of sub-soil resources, its usurpation of fishing rights that once supported hundreds of artisanal and industrial fishing enterprises, and its interference with transit through an international strait frequented by almost 20,000 vessels each year. The dispute also concerns interpretation or application of UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and Russia’s serious breaches of the Convention. The objective of Ukraine in this arbitration is to redress these serious maritime harms.

Graphic Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine


Russia is of the opinion that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over claims concerning activities in the Sea of Azov and in the Kerch strait because:

  • The Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait are internal waters;
  • Claims concerning the regime of internal waters are outside the scope of UNCLOS;
  • A dispute concerning the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait is not a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of UNCLOS.

According to Russia, Ukraine’s claims implying sea boundary delimitations are excluded from the tribunal’s jurisdiction by article 298(1)(a) of UNCLOS.

Russia is trying to persuade the Arbitral Tribunal that Ukraine’s claims concerning military activities are excluded from the tribunal’s jurisdiction. However, Ukraine insists that Russia’s UNCLOS violations occurred “in the period following” Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula. Moreover, Russia’s invasion of the peninsula is not itself the subject of any of Ukraine’s claims, and thus is not what this dispute concerns.”

On June 10, 2019 through June 14, 2019, the Permanent Court of Arbitration is holding hearings on the preliminary objections of the Russian Federation in the arbitration Concerning Coastal State Rights in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov, and Kerch Strait, initiated by Ukraine against Russia.

The arbitral proceedings were initiated on September 16, 2016 when Ukraine served the Russian Federation a Notification and Statement of Claim under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Ukraine will present their case on June 11, 2019 at 10:00am CEST in The Hague, Netherlands.

Source Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
date 11.06.2019
categories World
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