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Russia does not consider that the incident with the detention of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait falls under the jurisdiction of the United Nations’ International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Moscow has outlined its position in court, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
In comment on whether Moscow will send its report to the tribunal by June 25 as demanded by the court, Peskov said: "Russia’s position has been very clearly outlined in this court by our representatives."
The incident in the Kerch Strait "does not fall under the jurisdiction of this judicial authority, and this is Russia’s position," Peskov recalled. "Certainly, the court’s powers do not reach this situation," he is quoted as saying by TASS.
Earlier, the UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia should release 24 Ukrainian sailors and hand over to Ukraine three seized vessels. The tribunal called on both sides to avoid steps, which could deteriorate the situation in the Kerch Strait. According to the tribunal, the absence of Russian representatives at the hearing could not serve as a reason not to consider the case. Besides, the tribunal said both Moscow and Kiev should provide reports on the Kerch Strait incident by June 25. Moscow refused to participate in the hearings, saying that ITLOS had no authority to consider the matter.
Three Ukrainian warships illegally entered Russia’s territorial waters in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018. Despite the repeated warnings and demands to stop, the Ukrainian vessels continued their way, forcing Russia to use weapons. Three Ukrainian servicemen were lightly wounded. The vessels were detained and 24 Ukrainian sailors were arrested.