Ukraine demands that Russia set a date for the release of 24 captured sailors

In an interview on Ukrainian Radio HB, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the European integration Olena Zerkal said that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had prepared a protest note, which requires Russia to set the date and place of release of the captured 24 Ukrainian sailors and three warships.

"We have already prepared a diplomatic note to the Russian Federation. Today it will be sent to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The questions are asked on how we can take our ships back and when, where, and how our consuls can take our people back from Lefortovo", said Zerkal.

The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Ukraine, in its note, refers to the order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

"Today we urge Russia with the fact that they have to do it immediately," said Zerkal.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea at a meeting in Hamburg on the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia on May 25, ordered Russia to release warships and return them Ukraine immediately.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier that the Russian Federation's implementation of the order of the International Tribunal of the UN on the liberation of the occupied Ukrainian sailors and ships "may become the first sign from the Russian leadership about their willingness to end the conflict with Ukraine."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said that the UN Tribunal has no jurisdiction to consider the case of the capture of Ukrainian sailors.

On 25 November last year, Russia attacked and captured the Ukrainian military boats Berdyansk and Nikopol and the tugboat Yany Kapu in neutral waters. All 24 Ukrainians on board were accused of violating the Russian state border, arrested, and transferred from Kerch to Moscow. Ukraine considered this an act of military aggression, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the captured sailors as prisoners of war.

US President Donald Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin because of the Kerch Strait incident. US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker similarly called off his scheduled negotiation session with Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov.

Oleksandr Turchynov, former Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said in December that Ukraine had invited its international partners to take part in a passage of naval ships from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian media warned that this could “aggravate the situation”.


  Russia, Ukraine, UN, Crimea, Zelensky