Russia Jails Two Ukrainian Sailors Involved In Kerch Strait Confrontation

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 11/27/2018

Ignoring Ukraine’s demands that its sailors be treated as prisoners of war, Russia has decided to jail two of the Ukrainian sailors captured on Sunday when Russian Navy ships rammed and fired on three Ukrainian vessels that Moscow said were “maneuvering dangerously” near the Kerch Strait. The Russian Coast Guard captured some two dozen sailors after commandeering the ships, which included to Ukrainian artillery ships and a tugboat. Russia has refused to release the ships and the sailors despite demands from European and US officials.

According to Radio Free Europe, a Russian court in Simferopol ruled that the men should be kept in custody for two months while Russia carries out an investigation. News of the court’s decision follows the release of interrogation footage where three of the sailors admitted to “provoking” Russia and said they were just following orders. In Russia “pretrial detention” typically means that the men will be locked behind bars in a jail.

The court would also carry out custody hearings for 12 other captured sailors on Tuesday, with nine more expected on Wednesday.

Russian law allows for the term of their detention to be extended at prosecutors’ request. It’s not clear when the sailors, who have been accused of violating Russia’s border, will face trial.

Six Ukrainians were injured on Sunday when Russian ships fired on the Ukrainian vessels, while a Russian shipped rammed the tugboat. After the ships were halted, Russian special forces stormed the vessels and took them into custody.

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