COMMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF UKRAINE ON RETURN OF THREE UKRAINIAN NAVAL VESSELS BY RUSSIA: «NIKOPOL», «BERDIANSK», AND «YANU KAPU»
358 days have passed since the illegal capture and detention by Russia of three Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea. On November 18, the naval vessels were finally handed over to representatives of Ukrainian authorities.
According to International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea from May 25, 2019, Russia had to immediately transfer the above-mentioned vessels under the control of Ukraine. It took Russians almost half a year for such a return.
After a thorough check and examination, it will become clear in what condition the Ukrainian vessels were returned, what equipment and documentation were seized from them.
On April 1, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, informed the Russian Federation about a dispute on its violation of the immunity of three naval vessels and 24 crew members.
Despite the return of marines and vessels, the dispute continues, an arbitration court has been formed, and on November 21-22 the first procedural hearings will be held in the Hague, at which further procedural issues of the consideration of the case will be determined.
The Ukrainian side is making efforts to establish by the arbitral tribunal a violation by Russia of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea during the detention of «Nikopol», «Berdiansk» and «Yanu Kapu» and 24 members of their crews.
The immunities of naval vessels are a fundamental principle of international and maritime law. No one has the right to violate them, and in case of violation must be fully responsible.