“We know from the previous experience that Russia will agree on any option of the exchange very reluctant, especially, for 70 people apart from the sailors, on whom exchange Ukraine presented the proposals at different times. In fact, it was able to make it with six persons, if we count the leaders of the Crimean Tatars community. At the same time, the situation with the sailors is unique. We hope for this uniqueness when we discuss the possibility of their return. According to the reaction of the last month and a half, it is very tough and far surpasses the previously expressed reactions on other Ukrainian citizens detained by Russia. In this case, we look forward with great expectation not to the offers of the Ukrainian side but to the tough pressure,” the lawyer said.
Novikov does not know the date of the court session on the case of the sailors yet, but he specified that not one but 24 sessions will be held, for each sailor.
“One court session will not be held. The issue is about 24 people, and, technically, 24 sessions will be held. I think that Lefortovo Court of Moscow will deal with the holding of the sessions the next week. They did not report us anything,” Novikov stated.
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.
21 Ukrainian sailors have been delivered to Lefortovo remand center in Moscow, three others are in the hospital of Matrosskaya Tishina prison, also in the Russian capital. On December 3, the Russian prosecutors officially accused Ukrainian sailors with the 'illegal crossing of the state border' during the attack in the Kerch Strait.
On December 26, Crimean Supreme Court left all Ukrainian sailors under arrest.