The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its strong protest with regard to the illegitimate decision of the Lefortovo District Moscow Court to extend the detention until July 24 and 26, 2019 of 24 Ukrainian servicemen captured by Russia in the waters of the Black Sea.
The Russian Federation has again resorted to a behind the closed doors court hearings, thus confirming the preliminary assessments of its full awareness of the illegitimate trial and the attempts to hide blatant violations of the international law, namely the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which guarantees the immunity of warships and their crew members, as well as the Third Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949.
We once again demand that the Russian side immediately provide medical documents about the health and treatment of those Ukrainian servicemen who were wounded as a result of use of force by Russia when captured, release them from custody and allow them to return to Ukraine.
On April 17 Ukraine filed a request in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) seeking provisional relief against the Russian Federation. The Request seeks the release of the three Ukrainian naval vessels and the twenty-four servicemen unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation in the Black Sea on 25 November 2018.
We are grateful to our international partners from EU member-states, US, Canada and Switzerland for solidarity with Ukraine in the cause of release of the Ukrainian servicemen from the Russian captivity. We call on the international community to increase pressure on the Russian Federation so that all 24 prisoners of war are released and returned home as soon as possible.