"Russia's constant refusal to participate in hearings does not reduce the legitimacy of the case regarding the release of our seamen, and the hearing will be held as planned – on May 10, 2019 in Hamburg," Zerkal wrote.
She said that the parties' arguments - written documents and transcripts of speeches - would be available at the hearings, and the decision of the ITLOS would be passed by the end of May.
"Even if Russia, in its consistency, presents the decision on the release of Ukrainian seamen to its consumers of information as a great service to the Ukrainian president-elect, the whole civilized world will be aware that this is in fact not a service but the implementation of the decision of the Tribunal. We do not request any service. We demand the immediate release of our seamen, as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Zerkal said.
On Nov. 25, Russian border vessels committed aggressive actions against three Ukrainian ships that set sail from the port of Odesa to the port of Mariupol in the Azov Sea. After that, Russian special forces opened fire on the Ukrainian tugboat Yany Kapu, small armored artillery boats Berdiansk and Nikopol in the Kerch Strait and seized them. There were 23 sailors on board the ships, and six of them were wounded.
Russia announced its intention to try detained Ukrainian sailors for allegedly illegal crossing of the Russian state border.
On Nov. 26, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Ukraine related to the latest developments in the Black and Azov Seas.
Later on the same day, Ukraine's parliament gave the green light to a presidential decree on the introduction of martial law for 30 days in 10 regions of Ukraine – Vinnytsia region, Luhansk region, Mykolaiv region, Odesa region, Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Chernihiv region, Kherson region, Donetsk region and Zaporizhia region, as well as the inland waters of the Azov-Kerch water area.
On Nov. 28, the Russian rubberstamp district court of Simferopol city in Crimea arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured by Russian FSB near the Kerch Strait, for two months. They all face six years in prison.