Ukrainian ombudsperson off to Russia to attend court hearings in POW sailors' case

13:40, 14 April 2019
Politics
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facebook.com/denisovaombudsman

"Now I'm on a train, leaving for Moscow. I plan to be at court hearings of the Lefortovo court on extending the remand period of our 24 POW sailors," she wrote on Facebook.

According to Denisova, she also hopes to meet with FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov and Russian presidential adviser on civil society development Mikhail Fedotov.

Read alsoMerkel, Poroshenko demand release of Ukrainian sailors held in Russia

"Once again, I will insist that they finally allow me to visit our guys, who have been in Russian captivity for almost five months already," the Ukrainian ombudsperson added.

UNIAN memo. On the morning of November 25, Russia blocked the passage to the Kerch Strait for the Ukrainian tugboat "Yany Kapu" and two armored naval boats "Berdyansk" and "Nikopol," which were on a scheduled re-deployment from the Black Sea port of Odesa to the Azov Sea port of Mariupol.

The Ukraine Navy Command noted that the Russian side had been informed of the plans to re-deploy the vessels in advance in accordance with international standards to ensure the safety of navigation.

The Russian coast guard ship "Don" rammed the Ukrainian tugboat, damaging the Ukrainian vessel. As the Ukrainian boats were heading back in the Odesa direction after being rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.

All 24 crew members on board were captured and later remanded in custody for two months, being charged with "illegal border crossing" (the sailors are facing up to six years in prison).

Read alsoUkrainian sailors captured by Russia could be considered POWs – OHCHR

Three crewmen were wounded in the attack.

Russian-controlled "courts" in the occupied Crimea ruled that all 24 detainees should be remanded in custody, after which they were transferred to the Moscow-based Lefortovo and Matrosskaya Tishina detention centers.

Moscow's Lefortovo district court in the middle of January 2019 ruled to keep the Ukrainian sailors in remand until the end of April 2019.

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