1. Presidential election in Ukraine.
According to the international observers, the presidential election which took place in Ukraine on April 21, 2019 were fair, transparent and in line with all democratic standards.
Volodomyr Zelenskiy, the 41-year old political novice, scored a victory in runoff presidential vote, winning 73,22% of the vote. The incumbent president Petro Poroshenko received 24,45% of the vote.
World leaders congratulated the President-elect Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskiy on his victory in the Ukrainian presidential election and also stressed their hope that he will continue the country's political and economic reforms.
Among them US President Donald Trump, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of UK Theresa May and many others.
President-elect Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskiy confirmed Ukraine’s chosen European path and future reforms.
2. Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the provocative and unlawful decision by Kremlin to issue Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in occupied territories (April 24, 2019).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expressed its resolute protest in relation to the decree of the president of the Russian Federation that allows for Russian illegal “passportization” on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine. We consider this document to be legally null and void and it shall not alter the affiliation to Ukrainian citizenship of the residents of certain territories of Donbas, occupied by Russia.
Russia has, once again, violated the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and in so doing has taken an intentional step towards destroying the Minsk Agreements to which Russia is a party. These actions represent a blatant interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs as well as Russia’s creeping annexation of Ukraine’s Donbas. Russia’s key objective is to destabilize the domestic political situation in this post-electoral period. It also confirms Russia’s intention to continue its act of aggression against Ukraine and its reluctance to deescalate. The illegal “passportization” of Ukrainian citizens means that the Kremlin recognizes its occupation of certain territories of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Once again, Russia debunks its own propaganda narrative that this is a so-called "internal conflict in Ukraine". Of particular concern is the practice of illegal “passportization” of territories that Russia has illegally occupied. This strategy has been applied by the Kremlin in other protracted conflicts as a legal and humanitarian pretext for further aggression.
In this regard, we demand that the Kremlin administration abolishes this outrageous decision and we call on the international community to respond by increasing political, diplomatic and sanctions pressure on the aggressor state.
3. Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on its Request to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for the Immediate Release of Three Ukrainian Naval Vessels and the Twenty-Four Servicemen On Board (April 16, 2019).
Today, Ukraine filed a request in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (“ITLOS”) seeking provisional relief against the Russian Federation. The Request seeks the release of the three Ukrainian naval vessels and the twenty-four servicemen unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation in the Black Sea on 25 November 2018.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (“UNCLOS”), naval vessels and the personnel on board have complete immunity, meaning that foreign nations may not seize them, detain them, or subject them to legal proceedings. Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s vessels in the Black Sea, continued detention of the vessels and the servicemen on board, and attempted criminal prosecution of those servicemen blatantly violates UNCLOS.
On 1 April 2019, following months of efforts to secure the release of its naval vessels and servicemen and Russia’s continued, unjustified refusal to do so, Ukraine notified Russia that it was commencing mandatory arbitration under UNCLOS. Ukraine also has requested that ITLOS order immediate provisional relief to Ukraine by releasing its naval ships and 24 servicemen, in light of the urgency of the situation.
Since their capture on 25 November 2018, Russia has continued to detain Ukraine’s naval vessels and its servicemen. The servicemen, who are being held in Russian prisons pending trial for alleged criminal violations of Russia’s border control laws, have been subjected to interrogation and involuntary psychological evaluations. If ultimately convicted, they may be sentenced to up to six years in Russian labor camps.
Every additional day of detention harms the Ukrainian servicemen and constitutes a further affront to Ukraine’s legal rights under UNCLOS and customary international law. Today’s request for provisional relief seeks to protect against the serious and irreparable harm that will be caused by the continued detention of Ukraine’s naval vessels and the continued detention and prosecution of its servicemen.
The next step in the proceedings will be a hearing before ITLOS on Ukraine’s request. Ukraine expects such a hearing to be scheduled within the next several weeks, and that a decision will issue soon thereafter.