Envoy Says Judgment On Seized Vessels By Russia, Victory For Ukraine

 The Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Aleksandruk Valerii, has hailed the judgment, ordering Russian Federation to release seized Ukrainian sailors and naval vessels.

Valerii, who spoke at a news conference in Abuja, on Friday, described the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) judgment as victory for Ukraine.

Ukraine had on April 1, filed arbitration before ITLOS over Russia’s violation of the absolute immunity of the three Ukrainian naval ships and the twenty-four servicemen aboard.

The tribunal had on May 25, ordered Russia to `immediately’ release the sailors and the Ukrainian vessels Berdyansk, Nikopol and Yani Kapu it seized off Crimea in Nov. 2018.

Russia claimed that the sailors violated its maritime border near the peninsula which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

Valerii said the judgment was a direct proof that Russia could not continue to violate international laws with impunity.

He said: “The order sends a strong message to Russia that it cannot continue to violate international law with impunity.

“The detention of the three naval vessels and the 24 servicemen on board is a blatant violation of the sovereign immunity enjoyed by warships under UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea) and general international law.

“As the Tribunal stated, the actions taken by the Russian Federation create a real and ongoing risk of irreparable prejudice to the rights of Ukraine to the immunity of its naval vessels and the servicemen on board.’’

According to the envoy, the judgment of ITLOS presents Russian Federation with no choice than to immediately respect the verdict by releasing the detained ships and servicemen.

“We now expect Russia to comply promptly and in full with the tribunal’s order,” he said.