Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on Russia’s return of three Ukrainian naval vessels "Nikopol", "Berdyansk" and "Yani Kapu" to the custody of Ukraine.
358 days have passed since Russia illegally captured and detained three Ukrainian warships in the Black Sea. On 18 November 2019, the ships were finally handed over to the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.
According to the Order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of 25 May 2019, Russia was obliged to immediately return these vessels to the custody of Ukraine. It took Russians almost half a year for such a return. After careful checking and examination, it will become clear in what condition Ukrainian ships were returned, whether their equipment and documentation have been removed.
On 1 April 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, notified the Russian Federation about a dispute concerning the immunity of three naval vessels and 24 servicemen on board.
Despite the return of servicemen and ships, the dispute is still ongoing, arbitration tribunal has been constituted and already on 21-22 November in The Hague the first procedural hearings will be held, on which the following procedural issues of case consideration will be determined.
The Ukrainian Party applies efforts with the aim of establishment by the Arbitration tribunal violations of the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea by Russia during the capture and detention of „Nikopol", "Berdyansk" and "Yani Kapu" and 24 servicemen onboard.
Immunities of warships are the fundamental principle of international customary and maritime law. Nobody has the right to violate it, and in case of violation one should bear full responsibility.
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