“Relatives is the most emotional part of this process” - Chiygoz about the meeting with the relatives of the captured Ukrainian sailors

11 January 2019, 16:41

On January 10 in Odesa, the relatives of the Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia met with a group of human rights defenders and Ukrainian officials. The purpose of this meeting was to inform relatives about the steps Ukraine is taking to free the sailors.

The Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Akhtem Chiygoz, who was one of the participants of the meeting, told about the meeting in the commentary to QHA media.

According to him, the meeting with the relatives of 24 Ukrainian sailors kept in Moscow prisons “Lefortovo” and “Seaman’s Silence”, was attended by Ombudsperson of Ukraine Lyudmila Denisova, Coordinator of a group of lawyers Nikolay Polozov, leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev, high-ranking Ukrainian military, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others departments.

Chiygoz said that the discussion was very emotional.

Relatives are the most emotional part of this process. All questions concern how and when they (the seamen, – ed.) will be released, what they eat, what parcels they received, how to provide them with everything they need.

“Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give clear answers to all questions,” Chiygoz said.

As of today, all 24 prisoners of Ukrainian sailors are provided with lawyers.

In such a short time, it was possible to visit virtually all of them, some even twice, taking into account the fact that investigative measures were taking place. In the Lefortovo detention centre it is quite difficult to do.

In “Seaman’s Silence”, where wounded sailors are being held, according to Chiygoz, the system is simpler, and each of the prisoners was visited several times by lawyers and consuls.

Reference: On November 25, 2018, the Russian border guards rammed a Ukrainian tugboat Yany Kapu, which was heading along with boats Nikopol and Berdyansk from Odesa to Mariupol. After that, Ukrainian vessels were fired. Three Ukrainian sailors were injured. All 24 Ukrainians were captured and arrested in the annexed Crimea until January 24, 2019. Later they were transported to Moscow. Three of the wounded were taken to the hospital in the Seaman’s Silence Prison, the rest in the Lefortovo detention center. All seamen held by Russia recognized themselves as prisoners of war.

Earlier QHA media reported that Ukraine had filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the seizure of Ukrainian sailors from the Kerch Strait by Russia.