21 Aug 2018 21:38

Moskalkova expects decision on release, return of Nord crew from Ukraine in coming days

MOSCOW. Aug 21 (Interfax) - A decision on the return to Russia of the crew of the Nord, a vessel seized in Ukraine, may be taken any day now, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova said.

"I'm expecting the Ukrainian authorities to decide on the possibility of permitting our fishermen to cross the border and return to their families any day now," Moskalkova said on the television channel Rossiya 24 (VGTRK) on Tuesday.

She said that she had passed on to Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova Russia's view that the crewmembers of Ukraine's YaMK-0041 vessel could be allowed to return home, as there are no more questions for them.

"But this has to be done in a synchronized and reciprocal manner," Moskalkova said.

On March 25, Ukraine's State Border Guard Service detained the Nord and its ten crewmembers.

The captain of the vessel, Vladimir Gorbenko, was charged with "violating the rules for traveling to and from the occupied Ukrainian territory with a view to harming national interests" of the Ukrainian Criminal Code. Later, he was also charged with illegal fishing and hunting.

The rest of the crew was charged with illegal crossing of the border, which entails a fine of 100 to 300 minimum wages or up to 15 days in custody.

On May 4, Russia detained the YaMK-0041 and its Ukrainian crew. On May 16, the Federal Security Service charged its captain, Viktor Novitsky, with "illegal hunting (catching) of marine biological resources by a person using his or her professional position." The vessel was impounded.

Denisova asked Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to consider exchanging the Russian and Ukrainian crews.