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Crimean courts arrest 15 captured Ukrainian servicemen

They are in custody at least until 25 January 2019.

Crimean courts arrest 15 captured Ukrainian servicemen
Photo: Censor

Twelve Ukrainian naval servicemen captured by Russia off the Kerch Strait on 25 November have been arrested by Simferopol's Kyivskyy district court until 25 January 2019. Three more have been arrested for the same term in Kerch.

The twelve arrested in Simferopol are:

- leading seaman Volodymyr Varymez, a crew member of the Yani Kapu tug,

- sailor Andriy Oprysko,

- sailor Viktor Bezpalchenko,

- sailor Serhiy Tsybizov, the Nikopol cutter,

- leading seaman Mykhaylo Vlasyuk, the Yani Kapu tug,

- leading seaman Volodymyr Tereshchenko, the Yani Kapu tug,

- warrant officer Yuriy Budzyko, the Yani Kapu tug,

- lieutenant commander Serhiy Popov, the Nikopol cutter,

- Roman Mokryuk,

- Bohdan Holovash,

- Serhiy Chulyba,

- Vladyslav Kostyshyn.

The three Ukrainians arrested in Kerch are those servicemen who were wounded when the Russians opened fire to kill on three Ukrainian naval boats. These are

- Andriy Artemenko

- Vasyl Soroka

- Andriy Eyder

Russia insists they are suspected of trespassing its border (Article 322 Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code). However, the Ukrainian ships were in neutral waters waiting for a pilot to take them through the Kerch Strait on their way from Odesa to Mariupol.

On 25 November, Russia blocked the Kerch Strait, fired on and seized the Yani Kapu tug and the Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats together with their crews of 24 people.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Pavlo Klimkin said that given that Russia openly admitted firing on the Ukrainian ships, the captured servicemen must be considered prisoners of war and treated accordingly.

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