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Azov crisis: Russia opens probe against Ukrainian law enforcers

The criminal cases were opened for “involvement of knowingly innocent Russia’s citizens from the military staff of the Defence Ministry and Russia’s Security Service Border Guard establishment”
16:03, 27 February 2019

Russian Investigation Committee
Open source

Russian Investigation Committee opened a criminal proceeding against the officer of Ukraine’s Security Service and Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Southern region for investigation started by the Ukrainian law enforcers against seven Russia servicemen due to aggression in Kerch Strait, as the press office of the committee reported.

“A criminal proceeding against senior investigator of the second investigation department of Ukraine’s Security Service in Odesa region, major of justice Oleksandr Gubsky and Deputy Military Prosecutor of Ukraine’s Southern region of Chief Military Procurator of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Office, lieutenant colonel of justice Roman Mrochko,” the Russian service reported.

Related: Russia talks about possible consequences of termination of Azov Treaty by Ukraine

The criminal cases were opened for “involvement of knowingly innocent Russia’s citizens from the military staff of the Defence Ministry and Russia’s Security Service Border Guard establishment.”

The representatives of the Investigation Committee stated that the Russians did not perform any illegal actions in Kerch Strait, they were “performing duties on the protection of the state border in compliance with the international norms and Russian legislation.”

The message says that the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies “brought to responsibility seven knowingly innocent Russia’s citizens without any proof.”

Related: EU to announce information on “Azov package of sanctions” next week, - Lithuanian President

On November 25, 2018, 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, another - to the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison.

On December 3, 2018, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.

Related: Russia closes area in Azov Sea near Kerch Strait for holding firing practice

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.

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