Crimean Tatar Resource Center

Russian Court Rejects Appeals Against Prolonging Pretrial Detention to Seven Ukrainian Sailors

21 August 2019

On Wednesday, August 21, Moscow court rejected appeals against prolonging pretrial detention to seven Ukrainian sailors: Andrei Artemenko, Viktor Bezpalchenko, Vladimir Varimez, Vladislav Kostishin, Oleg Melnychuk, Vasiliy Soroka, and Sergei Chuliba. The sailors’ lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, wrote on his Facebook page that they will remain in detention until October 24.

Previously, on  August 16, Moscow court rejected such appeals to Mikhail Vlasyuk, Sergei Popov, Andrei Drach, Bohdan  Holovash, Denis Hrytsenko, Vyacheslav Zinchenko, Vladimir Tereshchenko, Andrei Shevchenko, Roman Mokryak, Andrei Oprysko, and Sergei Tsybizov.

On  November 25, 2018 Russian forces, including NEYMA tanker, committed open aggressive actions against three Ukrainian vessels when they were headed from Odessa on the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Azov Sea. Specifically, Russian navy ship Don rammed the Ukrainian tug boat Yany Kapu. Small armored vessels, the Berdyansk, and the Nicopol have been damaged by enemy fire and could not move. The Ukrainian tug boat Yanu Kapu was also forced to stop its movement. As a result, vessels were seized by the Russian forces and several Ukrainian military officers were injured.

Russian FSB in Crimea accused Ukrainian side of “dangerous maneuvering” when entering “temporarily closed Russian territorial waters”.Сrimean Prosecution admitted Ukrainian sailors as prisoners of war.

All Ukrainian sailors were transported to Crimea and on November 27-28, were all arrested until  January 25, 2019. Later, as they were transported to Moscow from Crimea, on January 15-16, Lefortovo district court prolonged their pretrial detentions. All twenty-four Ukrainian sailors were forced to undergo the psychiatric examination.

On  May 25, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea during the meeting in Hamburg called Russia to immediately release all twenty-four Ukrainian sailors, as well as to return Ukraine its military vessels. OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution demanding to urgently release sailors.

On  July 10, all twenty-four Ukrainian sailors, detained in Moscow, were charged with illegal border crossing (part 3, article 322 Criminal Code of RF).

On  July 17, Lefortovo district court prolonged pretrial detentions for three months to all twenty-four sailors. Twenty-one sailor will stay in jail until  October 24, and three injured will stay until  October 26, 2019.