30 Jul 2019 18:27

Ukrainian court rules to arrest Russian tanker Neyma

KYIV. July 30 (Interfax) - A Ukrainian court has analyzed the legitimacy of actions taken by military prosecutors and Security Service investigators in searching the Russian tanker Neyma at the Izmayil port in the Odesa region on July 25 and put both the tanker and the documents found during the search under arrest, Ukrainian Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said.

"Having heard a relevant motion, the court put the said vessel along with the documents seized during the search under arrest. We did it. Period!" Matios wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

Matios dismissed the arguments that the investigative procedures on board the vessel were illegitimate without permission from the Russian consul.

"I'll explain: after undergoing border and customs controls in Ukrainian territory, the vessel has open borders. The existing international treaties ratified by both Russia and Ukraine do not envision the need to obtain consent or permission from a diplomatic or consular official of a foreign state to conduct investigative procedures on board a sea or river vessel in Ukrainian territory. We have done that legitimately," he said.

According to the Ukrainian Security Service, the Russian-flagged tanker Nika Spirit entered the Izmayil port in the Odesa region of Ukraine on July 24. The investigation determined that the Russian owners had changed the tanker's name to Nika Spirit from Neyma following the incident in the Kerch Strait in November 2018, in which Russian special services detained Ukrainian sailors. On July 25, Ukrainian Security Service investigators and military prosecutors detained the Russian tanker that they believed had blocked Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait in November 2018.

The Ukrainian Security Service said later investigative procedures did not find violations of maritime laws or Ukrainian law on the part of the Russian tanker's crewmembers, and therefore it had no reasons to detain them. All sailors from the Russian tanker have returned to Krasnodar.