EU increasing pressure on Russia to free Ukrainian sailors - media

EU increasing pressure on Russia to free Ukrainian sailors - media

Europe has stepped up pressure on Russia to free Ukrainian sailors, amid concern of a potential flare-up in the four-year old conflict, EUobserver has reported.

"We expect Russia to immediately and unconditionally release the 24 captured Ukrainian sailors," the EU's ambassador to Russia, Markus Ederer, told Russian deputy foreign minister Aleksandr Grushko in Moscow on Wednesday (January 30).

According to the news report, the EU also "expects Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage [for ships] through the Kerch Strait to and from the Azov Sea."

Russia captured the Ukrainian sailors in a naval skirmish in the Azov Sea area in November.

It has put them on trial in Moscow on pain of six years in prison.

It has also harassed commercial shipping to Ukrainian ports in the region, such as Mariupol, causing economic harm.

"If the crew members are not released, the EU should stand ready to look at new, targeted measures against Russia," Denmark's foreign minister Anders Samuelsen and Czech foreign minister Tomas Petricek said on a visit to Mariupol this week.

As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border ships fired on and seized in the Kerch Strait three Ukrainian naval vessels that were moving from Odesa to Mariupol. Twenty-four Ukrainian sailors were captured.

The sailors were detained for two months. They were charged with illegally crossing Russia's border in the Black Sea. On November 29, Ukrainians were taken to a detention center in Moscow.

On January 16, Moscow's Lefortovo District Court extended the arrest of all 24 seamen until April 24 and 26, 2019. Attorneys will file appeals on all Ukrainians.

All captured sailors called themselves prisoners of war.

Let’s get started read our news at facebook messenger > > > Click here for subscribe

While citing and using any materials on the Internet, links to the website not lower than the first paragraph are mandatory. In addition, citing the translated materials of foreign media outlets is possible only if there is a link to the website and to the website of a foreign media outlet. Citing and using materials in offline media, mobile apps, Smart TV are allowed only with written permission from Ukrinform. News and publications marked as "Advertisement" and "PR" and articles in the section "Releases" include promoted content, and an advertiser is responsible for the content.

© 2015-2020 Ukrinform. All rights reserved.

Website design Studio Laconica

Extended searchHide extended search
By period: