Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian military in Kerch strait should be considered prisoners of war. This is mentioned in the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Yevropeiska Pravda news outlet reported that on Thursday.
'The OHCHR marks that, based on the norms of international humanitarian law of the Third Geneva Convention (...), the detained crew members can be considered prisoners of war, being under the protection of the Third Geneva Convention. In any case, they should enjoy the status of POW until the competent court decides otherwise. OHCHR reminds that the POWs should be treated in a human way, protecting them from acts of violence or intimidation, providing them with the necessary medical assistance', reads the document.
The report was released this week, including the references to human rights protection situation from November 2018 to February 2019; thus, this office became the first international organization to recognize the Ukrainian seamen prisoners of war illegally held in Russia.
As we reported earlier, 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.