Kerch Strait crisis: 34 member countries of International Maritime Organization support Ukraine

Ukraine protested at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Committee for Maritime Safety because of the armed attack on Ukrainian military boats. The Ukrainian Embassy in the UK reported  that 34 IMO member countries supported Ukraine’s position.

"The Ukrainian government has condemned numerous instances of discriminatory inspections of vessels traveling to Ukrainian ports, which are a violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and bilateral Ukrainian-Russian agreements. Delegations of 34 IMO member countries, including Australia, Great Britain, Georgia, Canada, Germany, France and the United States supported Ukraine’s position and condemned yet another act of armed aggression by Russia against Ukraine,” the Embassy stated.

On November 25, Russian Navy vessels opened fire on and captured three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdiansk, the Nikopol and the tug boat Yany Kapu, which were heading to Mariupol from Odessa. The Russian border control boat Don rammed the Yany Kapu.

The Russian Federal Security Service of the Crimea claimed that the three Ukrainian ships illegally crossed the Russia’s borders and carried out “dangerous maneuvers” on the way to the Kerch Strait. The FSB used weapons against Ukrainian boats in the Black Sea.

According to Kyiv, six Ukrainian sailors were injured. The FSB of Russia confirmed the use of weapons against Ukrainian ships and that three Ukrainian sailors were injured. The Ukrainian Security (SBU) reported that two of its members were also on the ships. The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea declared the Ukrainian sailors as prisoners of war captured by Russia.

The Kremlin-controlled courts in Simferopol and Kerch arrested 24 Ukrainian military servicemen, including the three wounded who are in a Kerch hospital. They will be under arrest until January 25, 2019. The captured men could face up to 6 years in prison.

  Russia, Ukraine, International Maritime Organizaton, Kerch Strait, Crimea