U.S. calls on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and vessels

U.S. calls on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and vessels

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and vessels captured in the Kerch Strait four months ago.

"Exactly 4 months ago, Ukrainian sailors defended Ukraine’s sovereignty and the right of freedom of passage. Freedom, sovereignty, and dignity are core principles that inspired the Revolution of Dignity, and they are as important on the sea as on land," the embassy posted on Twitter.

The diplomats called on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian prisoners of war.

"Russia’s detention of these sailors – as well as hundreds of other Ukrainian heroes who defended their country – is appalling. We call on Russia to immediately return to Ukraine its detained personnel and vessels, and to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," the embassy noted.

On November 25, 2018, Russian security forces seized three Ukrainian Navy vessels in the Kerch Strait and captured 24 Ukrainian servicemen. Three of them were wounded in the attack.

Subsequently, the seamen were taken to Moscow, where they are held in the Lefortovo jail. On January 15 and 16, a court in Moscow decided to extend the arrest of Ukrainian seamen until the end of April.


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