(MENAFN - UkrinForm) The Russian Federation should immediately release Ukrainian sailors captured in November 2018, return vessels, and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
'For six months, Russia has unjustly detained 24 Ukrainian crew members and their vessels. Russia should immediately release the sailors, return Ukraine's vessels, and respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine posted onTwitter .
As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yani Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded.
A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested all the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing. They are held in a remand prison in Moscow now.
On January 24, 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution officially requiring Russia to treat captured Ukrainian sailors in accordance with the Geneva Convention provisions on prisoners of war.
Ukraine appealed to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea requiring the Russian Federation to release the captured naval vessels and return them to the custody of Ukraine, to suspend criminal proceedings against 24 detained sailors, to release them and allow them to return to Ukraine.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea willdeliverits order in the case Ukraine v. Russian Federation on Saturday, May 25, at noon.