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22 May, 2020

Ukraine to submit evidence against Russia in case of seizure of Ukrainian sailors to ITLOS

Ukraine's memorandum in the case of the seizure of Ukrainian sailors and ships in the Black Sea in November 2018 has been signed and will be submitted to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on Friday, May 22

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, the memorandum was signed during an online briefing on Friday. Ukraine's agent in international cases against Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin, signed the document.

"Today, as required by the Tribunal's procedures, we are submitting our detailed legal position to the arbitral tribunal. This document is called a memorandum. Facts, images, evidence and the legal position have been presented here systematically and qualitatively," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

He said Ukraine was beginning a new stage in the struggle for justice and opposition to Russian aggression in international courts.

"We do not seek revenge. We seek justice, and we will seek this justice by all means available to us. […] Russia must be held accountable for violating the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, for holding our sailors in a Russian prison for nine months, and for detaining our ships for eleven months," the diplomat said.

Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevhen Yenin, in turn, said the memorandum contained the legal position of Ukraine, which describes in detail what rules were violated by the Russian side, as well as a description of the facts to confirm the legal position - testimony of witnesses, experts.

He said the memorandum was a confidential document so he could not name a specific amount of damage.

At the same time, Yenin named the structure of the damage caused, which consists of damage done to the Ukrainian Navy for repairing ships, as well as the impossibility of using them for one year, material and moral damage done to seamen illegally held in a Russian prison for more than nine-and-a-half months, as well as damage done to the state of Ukraine for the violation of its rights.

As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian security forces fired on and captured three ships of the Ukrainian Navy off the coast of Russia-occupied Crimea - the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu – which were heading from Odesa to Mariupol. Twenty-four Ukrainians were captured, and three of them were wounded.

The Ukrainian seamen returned to Ukraine as a result of a detainee exchange with Russia in September 2019.


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