Problems of delimitation of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait

Keywords: delimitation, Sea of Azov, Kerch Strait, Kerch-Yenikalsky Canal

Abstract

The article gradually considers the negotiation process between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the delimitation of the
Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait from 1991 to the present. It was established that according to the map of the inter-republican border
between the Ukrainian SSR and the Russian SSR, and according to the division of maritime waters on the basis of international law,
Russia should get a smaller part of the Sea of Azov. That is why Russia was not interested in the rapid establishment of a state border
on water. It was advantageous for Russia to delay the negotiation process on this issue and use the Sea of Azov on the same terms as
before the collapse of the USSR.
The article also focuses on numerous attempts of Ukrainian diplomats to achieve legal certainty in the delimitation of the Sea of
Azov and the Kerch Strait. A total of 36 rounds of border talks about the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, held from 1996 to 2012
under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, showed that Russia was ready to delimit the Sea of Azov only on
its own terms but not on the basis of international maritime law.
After the annexation of Crimea, a new round of relations begins regarding the division of the Black Sea. Russia acted quickly
and in March 2014 announced a tender for a construction project of a bridge that would connect mainland Russia and the Crimean
Peninsula, which at that time had already been illegally incorporated into the Russian Federation. Moscow has stated that the Kerch
Strait should be fully controlled by them, as both shores are Russian.
In 2016, Ukraine filed a lawsuit against Russia in the Hague Arbitration Court for breaking the UN Convention on the Law of
the Sea in the Black and Azov Seas and in the Kerch Strait. For today we don’t know what decision will be made by the Hague tribunal,
but there is reason to believe that the chances for winning of Ukraine are high.
The problem of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait has no simple solution. For today the only option is to wait for a decision
of the Arbitration Tribunal. Only on its basis Ukraine will be able to achieve the best strategy of the relations with Russia on the delimitation
the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait.

References

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Published
2020-11-10
How to Cite
Panchenko, I. (2020). Problems of delimitation of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait. Law Review of Kyiv University of Law, 1(3), 365-369. https://doi.org/10.36695/2219-5521.3.2020.67
Section
The legal system of Ukraine and international law, comparative legal studies