On August 28, Representatives of the border office of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Crimea detained Ukrainian fishing boat number YAOD-2105 and its crew of four, as stated on Facebook by the Main Department of the Ukrainian National Police (MDNP) in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.
According to the police, four fishermen are held at the border post of Sevastopol. “On these grounds, two criminal proceedings have been instituted under Section 1, Article 146-1 and Section 2, Article 278 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine that envisages imprisonment for up to eight years,” the report stated.
“Pre-trial investigation continues under the procedural direction of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Circumstances that are important for criminal investigations are being established by the main department of the national police in Crimea and Sevastopol,” the statement reads. Russian law enforcement authorities have made no official response regarding the incident.
On May 4, Russian border guards detained the Ukrainian fishing boat as it was headed westward to Cape Tarkhankut in the annexed Crimea. The State Border Service of Ukraine informed their Russian counterparts that the detained vessel had all necessary documents for fishing in Ukrainian territory. There were five crew members on board.
The Russian Head of the Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov stated that the crew members of the vessel YAMK-0041 were taken to the Crimea “to conduct procedural actions.”
In March, Ukrainian border guards detained a fishing boat flying a Russian flag in the waters of the Azov Sea. The Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea initiated criminal proceedings concerning the departure of the ship Nord from the port of annexed Kerch that had been closed by Kyiv.
In response, the FSB of Russia initiated criminal proceedings against the employees of the State Border Service of Ukraine who detained the vessel in the Azov Sea. Ukrainian border guards said this was done to “put pressure on the State Border Service of Ukraine.”
Western nations have long recognized the annexation of the Crimea as illegal and have condemned Russia’s actions. Russia denies annexing the peninsula, calling it the “restoration of historical justice” in the face of a number of Western economic sanctions imposed as a result of it. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has declared February 20, 2014 the beginning of the temporary annexation of the Crimea and Sevastopol.