Ukrainians began to collect signatures under the petition, in which they ask President Volodymyr Zelensky to assist in the rescue campaign for the sailors detained in Libya in 2017. The 14 seamen have been staying in custody since then.
The petition may be found on the website of the Presidential Administration.
'The attempts of Libyan lawyers to come to terms are failing. The families of the crew members repeatedly turned to the Administration of President of Ukraine, but they got the same answer: 'It's Libya', and received no help. All documents of the sailors were destroyed, and their vessel, for some reason, is now in Murmansk. The families are waiting for their sailors to get back home. Volodymyr Oleksandrovych, please help', reads the petition.
Libyan army detained Ruta, the Ukrainian tanker with 14 sailors aboard in April 2017. The crew were charged with smuggling oil products, but the tanker actually had no cargo on board, as it was on its way to the first loading point. At first, the sailors were held at a military base in Tripoli; then, they transferred them to the prison, where they suffer from poor sanitary and nutrition conditions.
The petition contains the names of all 14 detainees.
As of June 10, the petition was signed by 658 people. In order to be considered, it needs 25,000 signatures.