Germany: Ukraine demands Russia 'immediately' release Ukrainian sailors, vessels

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration, Olena Zerkal, called on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to apply «provisional measures» demanding that Russia «immediately» free three Ukrainian navy ships and release the 24 Ukrainian sailors detained as a result of the Kerch Strait incident. She spoke during a hearing over the Kerch Strait incident, in Hamburg... Еще on Thursday. Zerkal said, «Ukraine respectfully requests that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea order the Russian Federation by means of provisional measures to immediately release the Ukrainian naval vessels — the 'Berdyansk,' the 'Nikopol' and the 'Yany Kapu' — and return them to custody of Ukraine.» She also called on the court to order Russia «to suspend criminal proceedings against the 24 detained Ukrainian servicemen and refrain from investigating new proceedings, and to immediately release the 24 detained Ukrainian servicemen and allow them to return to Ukraine.» Russia reportedly refused to attend the tribunal hearing. The court is expected to issue a verdict on May 25. In November, a Russian court ordered the detention of 12 of the 24 sailors until January 25, 2019 following the incident in the Kerch Strait in late November. The sailors were charged under Part 3 of Art. 322 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation entitled «Illegal crossing of a border, committed by a group of persons by prior agreement or by an organised group, either with the use of violence or with the threat of its use.» The article carries a maximum sentence of up to six years in prison.

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