13 Feb 2019 11:33

Moskalkova visits Ukrainian sailors in detention facility

MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) - Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has visited the Ukrainian sailors detained by Russian border guards in the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018 in the detention facility Lefortovo.

"Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova and Nina Karpachova, vice-president of the European Ombudsman Institute and independent international expert, visited the Ukrainian naval sailors in the Lefortovo detention facility," according to a report posted on the Russian human rights commissioner's website.

Moskalkova and Karpachova "gave special attention to humanitarian issues associated with health and living conditions during the meeting with the sailors," the report said.

"The prisoners are under constant medical observation, they are fully provided with all necessary medication," it said.

According to the report, Moskalkova discussed with the administration of the detention facility the issue of further treatment and extra medical examination of the sailors in Moscow civil medical establishments and "said she hopes that a positive decision will be made on this issue in the near future."

On November 25, 2018, Russian border guards used weapons to stop three Ukrainian naval vessels, the Yany Kapu tug and the Berdyansk and Nikopol armored gunboats, which were traveling from Odesa to Mariupol in the Kerch Strait. The vessels were escorted to Kerch.

There were 24 Ukrainians, including two officers of the Security Service of Ukraine, aboard the vessels. They are all charged illegally crossing Russia's state border.

Kyiv considers the detained sailors as prisoners of war. The Russian authorities say they cannot be regarded as POWs, as they are charged with a crime and Russia and Ukraine are not in a state of war or military conflict.