RBC news agency reports that during a press briefing on Wednesday, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ,Maria Zakharova, said that the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires, and handed over a letter of protest in response to the Ukraine’s arrest of the Nord fishing trawler which was detained by Ukrainian border guards in the Sea of Azov on March 25.
According to Zakharova , Russian consular officers are not allowed to visit the crew members of the ship.
“Russia demanded the immediate release of illegally detained Russian citizens, the return of the Nord vessel to its rightful owner and the prevention of similar provocations in the future,” stated Zakharova.
The Nord trawler belongs to the Kerch fishing collective farm. The ship is also registered in Kerch. It was detained in the Azov Sea on March 25. Ukrainian border guards suspected the crew to be in violation state border crossing regulations, as it had previously visited Crimean ports. The fishing vessel was arrested, and it is now held in the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk.
On Wednesday morning, Anna Sheveleva, press secretary of the vessel’s company, said that the Ukrainian border guards transported the trawler captain, Vladimir Gorbenko, to an unknown location
Oleh Slobodyan, the assistant to the Head of State Border Service of Ukraine, explained to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency that Gorbenko was taken to the local administration of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kherson.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine announced that Gorbenko was charged under part 2 of section 332-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which details a violation of the order of entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, as well as departure from it. The department stressed that he faces up to five years in prison.