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Dialogue with Ambassador
18 December 2018 11:40

Question: There are many reports in the Chinese media about the incident between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait on November 25. The Ukrainian seamen are reported to be taken prisoners by the Russian military and kept behind the bars. Could you, please, explain what Ukraine is going to do to release its sailors?

Question: There are many reports in the Chinese media about the incident between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait on November 25. The Ukrainian seamen are reported to be taken prisoners by the Russian military and kept behind the bars. Could you, please, explain what Ukraine is going to do to release its sailors?

First of all, let me clarify: on 25 November 2018, the Russian Federation carried out  an act of open armed aggression against Ukraine in the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone of Ukraine in the Black Sea. Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea. During a regular sea crossing from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, three Ukrainian navy ships with 24 crew members on board were attacked and captured by Russian border forces. All sailors, including 6 wounded in the attack, were captured and now are kept behind bars in pre-trial detention centers in Moscow pending investigation.

Now Russia, besides the Ukrainian political prisoners, has Ukrainian prisoners of war on its territory. We claim that these 24 Ukrainian sailors are prisoners of war as they were taken by the Russian armed forces in the military action in the Black Sea. 

Immediately, Ukraine voiced its demand to unconditionally release the captured sailors and to return the captured vessels and equipment. But Russia claims them to be “criminals”, continues ignoring our demands and reiterates that it is ready to negotiate the release only after the so called «trial».

Ukrainians are uniting now around the release of our sailors from Russian captivity. Many Ukrainians are writing letters to the prisoners expressing their sincere support. These letters practically are the only channel for prisoners to receive truthful information from the outside, in their efforts to withstand Russian psychological attacks.

Ukraine has started an international information campaign "Support of Ukrainian Prisoners of War". We want the whole world to understand that the Kremlin criminal regime won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for any acts of aggression: today – against Ukraine, and tomorrow – against any other country in the world. We urge our allies and partners to hold Russia to account under the international law and to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor.

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