Kyiv: Four captured Ukrainian sailors are injured, one in serious condition

Iryna Herashchenko, the First Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Presidential envoy on a peaceful settlement of the Donbas conflict, reported on Facebook that four Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia have been injured and that one of them is in serious condition.

Herashchenko stressed that during the special meeting with the participation of the Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioned, Lyudmila Denisova, representatives of the Navy, the Ukrainian Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and non-governmental organizations dealing with human rights, a decision was made to coordinate efforts to provide legal, psychological and social assistance to the captive Ukrainian sailors and their families.

Russian authorities did not provide any information through the Office of the Ombudsman on the condition of their prisoners. Legal representation has been denied to some of them.

Herashchenko believes that illegal methods of pressure were applied to the captives by Russia. "We see the meanness of the Kremlin that did not provide any information on the sailors’ health conditions... And based on the provocation video published on the internet where [the sailors] are forced to read some notes, illegal pressure methods were applied to them.”

On November 26, Russian border guards attacked and captured two artillery boats and one tugboat belonging to the Ukrainian Navy. All three ships were damaged the Russians opened fire on them. Six Ukrainian sailors were injured, and Russia is now detaining a total of 23 Ukrainian servicemen.

Before this, a Russian ship rammed into the Yany Kapu tugboat, which was heading from Odessa to Mariupol, accompanied by the Berdyansk and Nikopol armored boats. The ramming caused damaged to the tugboat’s primary motor, its handrail, and the loss of a life raft.

The Ukrainian Naval Command emphasized that it informed the Russians in advance of its intention to transfer the boats, in keeping with international maritime traffic safety laws. The Russian FSB, on the other hand, claimed that it did not receive any notifications, and described its aggression as “protecting the state border”.

The agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait has not been denounced. It gives ships of both countries the right to move freely in these internal waters.  

On November 26th, after the armed attack of Russian border guards on the Ukrainian military in the Kerch Strait, the Verkhovna Rada approved the decree of President Petro Poroshenko to enact Martial law in 10 regions of Ukraine.

  Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, Kerch Strait