Ukraine's Foreign Ministry comments on extension of arrest of Ukrainian POWs

The body urges the international community to enhance pressure upon Moscow to provide a quick and unconditional release of the POWs
13:02, 16 January 2019

Court hearing of the case on extension of arrest of the Ukrainain sailors captured in November 2018

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry protests against the extension of sentence term for 24 Ukrainian sailors imprisoned by Russia near the Kerch Strait in November 2018. The body urges the international community to enhance pressure upon Moscow to provide a quick and unconditional release of the POWs, as the press office of the Ministry reports.

“The trial of these Ukrainian servicemen runs counter to the international humanitarian law. The closed-door court hearing today is clear evidence that the Kremlin is fully complicit in this sham trial. According to the 1949 Third Geneva Convention, Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, there can be no dispute that these captured Ukrainian sailors have the legal status of Prisoners of War. We therefore strongly demand that the Russian Federation treats them in full accordance with their status and with full respect to their rights under international humanitarian law,” the message says.

Related: Twelve Ukrainian sailors to stay in Russian custody till April 26

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry demands Russia to provide medical report on the health condition of the injured Ukrainian sailors and their treatment. Besides, the Ministry thanked the international partners for support in the courtroom.

“We greatly appreciate this manifestation of solidarity with Ukraine and its captured servicemen. 
We call on the international community to condemn Russia’s actions and to consolidate pressure on Moscow that will lead to the release of all 24 prisoners of war, currently incarcerated in Russia,” the message says.

Related: Ukrainian sailors left courtroom in Moscow amid shouts “Glory to Ukraine!”

As it was reported, Lefortovo court extended arrest of the last four Ukrainian sailors for three months. Earlier, detention was prolonged for the rest POWs captured near Kerch Strait in November 2018.

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. 

Related: Azov crisis: Ukrainian sailors refuse to testify in court

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.

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