Ukrainian sailors, captured by the Russian Spetsnaz in Kerch Strait on November 25, have been brought from the occupied Crimea to Moscow. Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukrainian ombudswoman reported this in a commentary for 112 Ukraine TV channel.
'There's plenty of information, but there has been no official confirmation about our sailors being held in Lefortovo detention centre in Moscow. However, I just received a word from Archbishop Klyment from Crimea. He just left the office of the so-called 'ombudswoman of Crimea' Lyudmila Lubina. She already received confirmation from the FSB department in Crimea; the authority confirmed that all Ukrainian sailors held in Simferopol detention centre were taken to Moscow. We still have no confirmation of where actually they are now', the Ukrainian official said.
Denisova marked that she tried to contact the press office of her Russian colleague Tatyana Moskalkova, in order to find out the whereabouts of the Ukrainian sailors.
'(...) They don't know where they (sailors, - 112 International) are. In the morning, I spoke with the Ukrainian embassy and our consuls in Russia and they also said there was no confirmation. Lefortovo does not respond; but they keep the track of the events', Denisova said.
The ombudswoman added that currently, Ukraine cooperates with Russian lawyer Nikolai Polozov who coordinates legal assistance for the sailors and the Ukrainian diplomats who will try meeting them, as foreseen by the Consulate Convention. 'I will try hard to get to our sailors', Denisova said.
As is known, on November 25, the Russian naval group attacked the vessels of the Ukrainian Navy in Kerch Strait, as they were en route from Mariupol to Odesa. A tugboat and two small gunboats took fire and were immobilized. Russian Spetsnaz captured 24 Ukrainian sailors aboard the vessels. Six of them were wounded in the attack. The Ukrainian servicemen did not return fire.
The captured sailors were taken to a detention facility in the occupied Crimea. The Russian prosecutors charged them with 'illegal entry into the Russian territorial waters'. The Ukrainians deny any guilt, saying they obeyed their command's orders.
Ukraine and a number of foreign governments demand to release the sailors, describing Russia's actions in the Kerch Strait as the act of military aggression.