"NATO's power lies in its unity. If the Alliance says something, every NATO member says the same thing at any forum and level. If NATO demands to release Ukrainian sailors, then every leader of these nations will demand that Putin must free them. Moreover, we should not forget that most NATO countries are members of the European Union, which also holds a clear and absolutely unambiguous stance on this issue," Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO Vadym Prystaiko said in an interview with Ukrinform.
He recalled that both the EU and NATO call on Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors, return ships and ensure freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait in accordance with international law.
"It is a powerful international pressure, and it will be continued," Vadym Prystaiko said.
As reported, on April 17, the Lefortovsky District Court in Moscow extended the arrest of all Ukrainian sailors, who had been captured during the attack in the Kerch Strait last year, for another three months until the end of July.
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.
Russian-controlled "court" in the occupied Crimea arrested all Ukrainian servicemen for the alleged illegal border crossing. Now they are held in the Lefortovo remand prison. All the detained Ukrainian sailors declared themselves the prisoners of war.
On January 24, 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution, calling on Russia to treat Ukrainian captured sailors in accordance with the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.
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