Russia refuses to recognize captured Ukrainian sailors as prisoners of war

On Saturday, the Head of the Russian Investigative Department of the FSB, Mikhail Shishov stated at a broadcasted briefing that Russia would not recognize the Ukrainian sailors detained on November 25 in the Kerch Strait as prisoners of war.

“The Ukrainians are trying to present their soldiers as prisoners of war, but these Ukrainian citizens were accused of a criminal offense. In accordance with the Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, signed at Geneva on August 12, 1949, they cannot be considered prisoners of war as the Russian Federation and Ukraine are not in state of military conflict or war,” Shishov explained.

First Deputy Head of the Coast Guard Department of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia Alexei Volsky also stated that the Ukrainian ships captured on November 25 had violated the passage requirements of the Kerch Strait and were moving with ready-to-fire artillery systems. “One can only guess what even accidentally opened artillery fire in such a saturated navigable area could lead to,” Volsky emphasized.

On November 25th, the Russian military captured three Ukrainian ships in the neutral waters of the Black Sea. The two boats, a tug boat and their crew of 24 people were taken to Simferopol where a Russian-controlled court arrested all Ukrainians for two months. The next day, the sailors were transported to Moscow, where they are now being detained.

The US State Department called on Russia to release the Ukrainian sailors detained in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait, "otherwise the consequences and pain will only increase with time." High Representative of the EU Federica Mogherini also called on Russia to release the Ukrainians without any conditions.

  Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Kerch Strait, EU, Mogherini