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Moscow Court Upholds Extending Pretrial Detention Of Ukrainian Sailors

Ukrainian sailors who were captured and taken into Russian custody attend a court hearing in Moscow on May 27.

A Moscow court has upheld a decision to extend the pretrial detainment period for the 24 Ukrainian seamen captured by Russia in November 2018, defying a UN maritime-tribunal ruling that the sailors be immediately released.

The Moscow City Court on May 27 upheld the Lefortovo district court's ruling in April to keep the seamen in jail until July, pending further investigation and trial.

The lawyers of the sailors had filed an appeal against the extension.

The decision came two days after the Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that Russia must "immediately" release 24 Ukrainian sailors and three Ukrainian naval vessels it captured.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on May 27 dismissed the ruling, saying Moscow would continue to "consistently defend its point of view."

Peskov claimed that the convention did not apply in the current case.

Russia seized the ships in November near the Kerch Strait bridge, which connects the Russian mainland to the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been tense since Moscow annexed Crimea in March 2014 and began providing military, political, and economic support to separatist formations waging a war against Kyiv in parts of eastern Ukraine.

With reporting by AFP