Russia ordered to release Ukraine sailors | 2019-05-26

Russia ordered to release Ukraine sailors

BBC

26th May, 2019 03:25:21 printer

Russia ordered to release Ukraine sailors

 

An international tribunal has ordered Russia to "immediately" release 24 Ukrainian sailors and three naval ships it seized off Crimea in November.

Moscow says the sailors violated its maritime border near the peninsula which it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

But the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea sided with Ukraine in the dispute, which has stoked tensions between the nations.

Russia, however, refuses to recognise the jurisdiction of the body.

It boycotted the hearings and analysts say the chances of it abiding by the Germany-based tribunal's provisional ruling appear minimal.

The Ukrainian vessels had tried to pass through the Kerch Strait, the only access to Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov.

But Russia has controlled the Strait since annexing Crimea, and its coastguard boats fired on the vessels before boarding them.

Russia has held the sailors in Moscow ever since.

The sailors face up to six years in jail if found guilty.

The ruling is being seen as a victory in Ukraine, delivering most of what Kiev sought.


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