It is unlikely that Russia sets Ukrainian seamen free before the presidenial election in Ukraine is over. The press service of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko reported that, quoting him.
'Unfortunately, I do not expect any positive news before the presidential electiosn. Putin has clearly said he would not be making a single step [for that to happen],' Poroshenko said.
However, Kyiv has been bringing up this issue on every international meeting at every possible level, the Ukrainian leader says.
On November 25, the coast guard ships of the Russian Navy attacked the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which have been carrying out a scheduled transition from Odesa port to Mariupol port in the Sea of Azov. Ukrainian ships were rejected passage via the Kerch Strait, Russian coast guards opened aimed fire on them.
All 24 sailors on board were captured and delivered to Moscow – 21 of them were delivered to Lefortovo remand center, the rest came to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.
Facing an extension of the sentence term, Ukrainian POWs detained in the Kerch Strait refused to testify in Lefortovo court. Sailors were distributed into six groups, four people in each. On January 15, 2019, Moscow's Lefortovo district court decided to keep 20 Ukrainian sailors in remand until April 24. On January 16, the court extended the detention term for another 4 sailors.