Azov and Black Sea Region: New Political and Legal Realities (Part I)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2018-62-10-91-102

P. Gudev (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation 

Abstract. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, previously a single maritime space of one state, had became the subject of an interstate dispute between Russia and Ukraine regarding the determination of their legal status and delimitation. The article analyzes the legal and political posi¬tions of both sides and their conformity with the modern international law norms, and the national interests of each state. The advantages of keeping the legal status of the internal historic waters under the full state sovereignty of both states with regards to the Azov Sea are considered; the negative aspects of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention’s norms and provisions application to this marine area, leading to a decrease of its legal status and the appearance of third countries’ legitimate interests, are analyzed. The Russian-Ukrainian treaties and agreements concerning this issue are examined, and the negative consequences of their denun¬ciation are described. Examples of how the status of internal historical waters can be applied to the maritime region of joint use of several states, and why the status of the common natural and economic complex pres¬ervation for the Azov Sea is more in interests of both countries, are given. The problems of the Kerch Strait water area’s legal status are touched upon, and the most acute plot of modern Russian-Ukrainian relations, namely, the construction the Kerch bridge, is not bypassed. The facts about the international practice of settling this type of disputes are given; legal claims of the Ukrainian side to the construction of this kind of hydraulic structures critically analyzed. Finally, the article shows how the entry of the Crimea into the Russian Federation led to a fundamental change in possible claims of Russia and Ukraine, as well as to the fact that the settlement of the situation on a number of issues in these areas has become even more difficult. 

Keywords: Sea of Azov, Kerch Strait, Kerch Bridge, Kerch-Yenikal Canal, delimitation of maritime spaces, middle line, internal historical waters, 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 


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For citation:
Gudev P. Azov and Black Sea Region: New Political and Legal Realities (Part I). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2018, vol. 62, no. 10, pp. 91-102.

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