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Statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry on the Kerch Strait

| Moscow (Russia)
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With regard to the information that Ukraine has set in motion dispute settlement procedures provided for by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding the November 2018 incident surrounding the provocation in the Kerch Strait in which three Ukrainian warships were involved, the Foreign Ministry states the following.

Ukraine is again acting in bad faith as it tries to use this situation, which has arisen as a result of illegal actions by Ukrainian ships, for internal political purposes. Ukraine applied to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea requesting provisional measures, despite the possibility of holding consultations afforded by international law, including Russian-Ukrainian treaties. Russia remains open to bilateral contacts on matters related to this incident, of which Ukraine was officially informed in notes issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

With respect to the process of applying temporary measures initiated by Ukraine on the basis of the 1982 Convention, Russia believes that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea does not have jurisdiction to consider the Kerch incident, in particular, by virtue of exceptions made by the Russian Federation and Ukraine regarding the non-applicability of the procedures stipulated by the 1982 Convention in relation to certain categories of disputes. We do not see in the temporary measures requested by Ukraine any element of urgent need, which constitutes a prerequisite for prescribing them. The procedural rights of the Ukrainian sailors have been strictly observed. They have access to legal aid and receive medical attention. The fact that Ukraine has been in no hurry to appeal to the Tribunal for almost five months now is also indicative of a lack of urgency.

International court proceedings should not prevent a criminal investigation from being conducted in the Russian Federation, and its results should not be predetermined by a decision of an international judicial body.

We urge the Ukrainian authorities to act in good faith in the interest of resolving the problem it has caused, to show actual concern for its citizens and, instead of initiating litigation, to initiate consultations between the parties.

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