The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, obliging Moscow to release Ukrainian sailors, stated that the possibility of invoking the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to resolve the incident in the Kerch Strait was excluded.
"As the Russian side has repeatedly stated, statements made by both Russia and Ukraine, when signing and ratifying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, exclude the possibility of using the Convention's dispute resolution procedures regarding the incident of 25 November 2018 in the Kerch Strait", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Moscow has repeatedly slammed Kiev's attempts to portray the detained sailors as prisoners of war, stressing that they faced criminal charges. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to declare martial law in Ukraine, which was announced after the incident and lasted for a month. Putin said the provocation might have been linked to former Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko's low approval ratings before the presidential election.