“In connection with numerous publications of inaccurate information in the media regarding the ban on entry into the Russian Federation imposed on 24 released Ukrainian sailors, we officially inform that 24 Ukrainian sailors are currently in the status of defendants in a criminal case under investigation by the FSB Investigation Department. Twenty-four Ukrainian military sailors have not been banned from entering the Russian Federation,” Polozov wrote on Facebook.
As reported, on November 25, 2018, Russian border guards fired on and seized three Ukrainian Navy ships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yani Kapu, heading from Odesa to Mariupol, near the Kerch Strait. In addition, their crewmembers, 24 Ukrainian sailors, were captured. Three of them were wounded.
A Russian-controlled court in the occupied Crimea arrested all the detained Ukrainian sailors on charges of alleged illegal border crossing.
On January 24, 2019, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution officially requiring Russia to treat captured Ukrainian sailors in accordance with the Geneva Convention’s provisions on prisoners of war.
On May 25, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels and 24 captured sailors.
Russia stated that it did not recognize the competence of the order, the Kremlin's stance on the release of Ukrainian sailors did not change.
On July 17, a court in Moscow ruled to extend the arrest of 21 Ukrainian prisoners of war until October 24 and to three wounded sailors (Andriy Artemenko, Andriy Eyder, Vasyl Soroka) - until October 26, 2019.
On September 7, the prisoner swap in 35-for-35 format took place between Ukraine and Russia. In particular, 24 POWs were released.
Lawyer Polozov specified that the Russian Federation had not closed the criminal case against the Ukrainian military sailors. Now the case is in the stage of familiarization with the case files.
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