Moscow calls Kiev for consultations to resolve Kerch naval incident

Status of captured sailors is a key subject


MOSCOW – Moscow is calling on Kiev to renounce its plans to resolve the dispute over the Kerch incident before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and sit down at the negotiating table to resolve the differences, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

On April 16, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that Kiev had submitted an application to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, calling for “coercive measures against Russia” to release the Ukrainian sailors detained in Russia for having illegally crossed the Russian border near the Kerch Strait.

“We call on Ukraine to act in good faith to solve the problem that arose because of it, to show true concern for its citizens and to get involved in consultations instead of litigation,” the statement said.

The note indicates that by submitting the application to the Law of the Sea Tribunal, Kiev “intends to use this situation, arising as a result of the illegal actions of Ukrainian vessels, to achieve its objectives in internal politics”.

Moscow stressed that Kiev ignored the Russian-Ukrainian agreements that allow negotiations to begin to resolve differences in this regard.

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that Ukraine in its application to the Court requests “provisional measures” against Russia, citing “the urgency” of the situation, something that Moscow denies.

“The procedural rights of Ukrainian sailors who use the services of lawyers and receive medical assistance are strictly respected, and the fact that Ukraine waited almost five months before submitting the application to the Court also confirms the lack of urgency,” pointed out the text.

The Russian Ministry stressed that “international litigation should not impede Russia’s criminal investigation, and its results should not be predetermined by a decision of the international court.”

“In relation to the process initiated by Ukraine on the basis of the 1982 Convention, Russia is of the opinion that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea does not have jurisdiction to settle the Kerch incident, in particular due to the reservations made by both Russia and Ukraine on the inapplicability of the procedures set forth in the 1982 Convention in certain categories of disputes,” he insisted.

On November 25, Russia captured two gunboats and a tugboat of the Ukrainian Navy with 24 crew on board that invaded a temporarily closed sector of the Russian territorial waters near the Crimea, advanced towards the Kerch Strait carrying out a dangerous maneuver. and disobeyed Russian coastguards who tried to stop them.

Moscow called the incident provocative, with which the current Ukrainian president Poroshenko sought to earn points for the presidential elections.

Ukrainian sailors face trial for illegal border crossing.

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