Ukraine ombudsperson asks Poroshenko to swap Ukrainian fishermen for Russian Nord crew
Ukrainian Ombudsperson Liudmyla Denisova has asked Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to consider the possibility of swapping the crew members of the Russian Nord fishing vessel detained by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine for the crew of the Ukrainian YAMK-0041 fishing vessel detained by the Russian security services.
The families of the Ukrainian YAMK-0041 fishing vessel's crew asked Denisova for help to return the sailors to mainland Ukraine, the ombudsperson's press service said.
They told Denisova that after detention, five Ukrainian seamen had forcibly been kept in Russian-occupied Crimea for two months.
On May 16, the FSB Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case against the captain of the vessel under Part 3 of Article 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (illegal fishing of aquatic biological resources by a person using his official position).
"According to the available information, the captain is in the Simferopol detention center, while other crew members have witnesses' status and do not have the opportunity to leave the territory of the Crimean peninsula due to the withdrawal of their foreign passports. According to the information I have, the state of the seamen's health is extremely unsatisfactory. These persons are subjected to psychological pressure and intimidation by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation," Denisova said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian border guards on March 25 detained the Nord fishing vessel flying a Russian flag in the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office of Crimea opened a criminal case because the vessel had arrived from the Russian annexed city of Kerch, a port officially closed by the Ukrainian government.
In response, the Department of the FSB of Russia in Crimea opened a criminal case against employees of the State Border Service of Ukraine that detained the ship. The Ukrainian border guards deemed it "pressure on the State Border Service of Ukraine."
On May 3, the State Border Service of Ukraine reported that "the Russians resorted to a policy of detention and inspection of ships" sailing through the Kerch Strait. On May 4, Russian border guards detained the YAMK-0041 as it left its home port of Ochakiv and was heading westward to Cape Tarkhankut in Crimea.