MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has turned down Ukraine’s request for interim measures concerning the detention of Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018, the Russian Justice Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Friday.
"The arguments and materials provided by the Ukrainian authorities did not persuade the ECHR to grant their request. The Court came to the conclusion that the request did not contain any new arguments and was similar to the previous one, to which the Russian authorities had already responded in full," the statement reads.
In February 2019, the Ukrainian Justice Ministry submitted an additional request to the ECHR that the arrested Ukrainian navy sailors be transferred to Ukraine to receive medical care. The Russian Justice Ministry pointed out that the Kiev authorities had questioned the quality of the medical treatment the sailors were receiving in Russia, citing the Ukrainian Health Ministry’s conclusions, but their request was based on information provided by the sailors’ defense attorneys and family members.
In January 2019, Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia with the ECHR, demanding that the sailors’ arrest be declared illegal.
Kerch Strait incident
On November 25, 2018, three Ukrainian navy ships illegally crossed Russia’s border and tried to carry out some illegal actions in Russian territorial waters later in the day. They ignored legitimate demands to stop issued by vessels belonging to the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet and continued maneuvering dangerously. In order to stop the Ukrainian ships, weapons had to be used. The three vessels were detained in Russian territorial waters.
A criminal investigation was opened into the border incident. The Ukrainian ships’ crew members - 24 Ukrainian nationals - were arrested. They are charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code. If found guilty, they may face up to six years in prison.