Russian occupation troops in Crimea pointed automatic rifles at Ukrainian fishers - Relatives
Russian security agents are exerting psychological pressure on Ukrainian fishermen captured off the occupied Crimea coast, according to the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights
On July 11, relatives of illegally detained Ukrainian nationals spoke about the situation with the Ukrainian Ombudsperon, Liudmyla Denisova.
They told Denisova that immediately after the ship was detained, Ukrainians were taken to the city of Balaklava "for procedural actions."
The captain is currently being held in custody in the occupied Simferopol, facing up to 5 years of imprisonment. Despite the fact that no charges were pressed against the remaining four crew, they are being illegally held in Crimea. For the third month, the men are unable to return to mainland Ukraine as the Russian-controlled authorities had seized their passports.
"Families of detainees underline the violation of human rights on the part of the Russian side," reads the statement on the Ukrainian Ombudsperson's website.
"In particular, they say that the Russian law enforcers exerted psychological pressure on the crew, pointing automatic rifles at them," the report says.
Liudmyla Denisova notes that she repeatedly appealed to her Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova. On May 16, Denisova enquired data on the location of Ukrainians and reasons for their detention, and asked to check conditions they were held and whether they had been provided medical assistance.
Another letter to the Russian side was sent on June 25 as Denisova expressed concern over the reports that the crew started a hunger strike, and asked to facilitate her visit to meet with said Ukrainians. The Ombudswoman notes that she received a response to her appeal as late as July 10. She was simply told her request had been forwarded to "competent authorities."
As UNIAN reported, on May 4, Russian border guards detained a Ukrainian fishing vessel (port of registration Ochakov) to the west off Cape Tarkhankut in the occupied Crimea.
Russian-controlled "head" of Crimea Sergey Aksenov said that the crew had been taken to Crimea "for procedural actions."
The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine stated that all five crew of detained vessel had all paperwork required for fishing on Ukrainian territory.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the detention of the Ukrainian vessel "usurpation of Ukraine's sovereign rights" in relation to the waters adjacent to the peninsula and "violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and general international law."
The "court" in the illegally annexed Crimea ruled to remand in custody the captain of the detained vessel YaMK-0041, Viktor Novitsky, who is facing up to 5 years in prison.
Later came the reports that no charges had been put forward against the rest of the crew.