During 2017- 2018 the Mission of the President of Ukraine in ARC in cooperation with the authorized bodies have raised the issue of usefulness to adhere the terms of the Agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on Fisheries in the Azov Sea dated on 14 September 1993 in the context of Russia’s aggression and temporarily occupation of Crimea, of the militarization of the Azov Sea. Particularly, the appropriateness for the Ukrainian – Russian Commission on Fisheries in the Azov Sea to continue fulfilling the conditions of the Agreement, particularly regarding the practical consequences of the protocols, approved by the Commission during the period of 2014-2017.
The authorized law enforcement bodies, particularly the Security Service of Ukraine and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, have been consistently informed about the security and corruption risks in the work of the Commission. Despite the consistent position of the officials of MFA of Ukraine, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the State Agency for Fisheries of Ukraine regarding the usefulness to continue the Agreement and work of the Commission, the First Deputy of the Permanent Representative was included to participate in the XXX session of the Commission to be held on 23-25 October 2018 in Kyiv.
The State Agency for Fisheries of Ukraine was proposed by the letter of the Mission dated on 27 September 2018 to include into the agenda the following issues to be considered at the XXX session of the Commission:
the grounds to distribute the fishery quotas for economic entities which are in the Crimean peninsula geographically and provide their fishing activity in the waters of the Azov Sea;
the grounds for large-scale inspections and detention of fishery vessels flying the Ukrainian’s Flags in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Straight;
the grounds for detention of the Ukrainian fishers by the representatives of the State border guard service of Federal Security Service of Russia.
At the meeting on 10 October, the State Agency for Fisheries of Ukraine refused to include the above-mentioned issues into the draft agenda of the XXX session of the Commission. The common joint entertaining events of session with the RF were not discussed with the Mission.
Due to above-mentioned circumstances, the Mission has sent the prior written proposals to refrain from the actions, contradicting the national interests of Ukraine, including the permanent blockings, detentions and inspections of the fishery vessels, flying the Ukraine’s Flags in the Azov Sea, carried out by Russia. Furthermore, the kidnapping of sailors, particularly, from the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea by the armed forces of RF in the Azov Sea and the Syvash Bay, illegal seizer of fishing gear and catch as well as the enlargement of Russian navy and special services concentrated on the adjacent areas of the Syvash Bay and the Azov Sea. All of those illegal activities of Russia continue to occur despite the series of measures to be undertaken on the State level to counteract the escalation of power of the state-aggressor in the Azov Sea and the Kerch Straight.
On 23 October at the XXX session of the Commission on Fishery in the Azov Sea, the First Deputy of the Permanent Representative Izet Gdanov once again highlighted the above-mentioned issues that require the immediate attention and decision to be undertaken by the Commission. The First Deputy being a member of the Commission and in accordance with the Regulations of the Commission pointed out the militarization of the Azov Sea by Russia and closure of some marine areas. All those actions of RF violate the right to fishery, guaranteed by the Agreement. Moreover, he pointed on the issue of membership of some individuals in the delegation, who illegally visited Crimea and supported the expropriation of the real estate properties by Russian occupying authorities, registration of economic entities in the occupied territory in Donetsk region have been ignored by the members of the Commission.
It should be noted that further work of the Commission have a huge risks and challenges against the interests of Ukraine, particularly in the context of counteraction of Russia’s aggression and efficiency of those events on de-occupation of Crimea. The Mission will take all possible measures to ensure the State’s interests of Ukraine, protection of Human Rights under the circumstances.