Ukrainian Sailors Detained In Kerch Strait Feel Good - Ombudswoman
Muhammad Irfan 5 days ago Wed 17th April 2019 | 08:26 PM
The Ukrainian sailors, who were apprehended during the incident with the detention of Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait by Russia, feel good, Ukrainian ombudswoman Lyudmila Denisova said on Wednesday
"It seems to me that the sailors are in an absolutely normal condition, they are vigorous and active as judged by their appearance. They are glad to see their relatives, who hope for the soon release of our sailors," Denisova told reporters.
She also opined that the investigation was being carried out without unnecessary delays.
"I can speak about the course of the investigation only based on the words of lawyers. They say there are no delays, everything takes place in relevant time, there are no signs of delays of the investigation. Concerning [the sailors'] return, the dialogue in various formats is underway," the ombudswoman noted.
On November 25, Ukraine's Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats, and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. Russia seized the Ukrainian vessels and detained crew members after they failed to respond to a demand to stop. After the incident, a criminal case on illegal border crossing was opened in Russia.
Moscow has repeatedly slammed Kiev's attempts to portray the detained sailors as prisoners of war, stressing that they faced criminal charges. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the incident was a provocation prepared in advance as a pretext to declare martial law in Ukraine, which was announced after the incident and lasted for a month. Putin said the provocation might have been linked to Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko's low approval ratings before the presidential election.