Russian Federation in Contravention of International Law Blocks Navigation through the Kerch Strait
According to the results of remote sensing conducted in the Kerch Strait during the period from 25 to 27 November 2018, an extremely large cluster of ships was detected. In particular, between November 25 and 27, the number of ships in and around the Kerch Strait increased more than 2.5 times - from 167 to 421 ships.
Due to the blockage by Russian Federation of the passage through the Kerch Strait, which, in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is used for international navigation, Ukrainian and foreign merchant vessels are forced to remain in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov waters without further access to the ports of Berdiansk and Mariupol.
In general, such actions by Russia may indicate a deliberate violation of 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and 2003 Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the sea of Azov and the strait of Kerch.
In particular, RF violates the right of Ukraine to freedom of navigation and innocent passage through an international channel, which shall be continuous and expeditious. The blockage of the Kerch Strait shows the actual suspension of an innocent passage that is prohibited in international maritime law.
In addition, Russian Federation in the same way violates the right to freedom of navigation and innocent passage of third countries whose vessels are at the entrance or exit of the Sea of Azov. The aforementioned Convention and the Agreement grant the same rights that are enjoyed by Ukraine and Russia to the trading vessels of third countries.