MOSCOW, May 14. /TASS/. Moscow expects Kiev to make a fair decision concerning the Nord fishing vessel’s crew members so that they can return home as soon as possible, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with TASS.
"The crew members are currently on the premises of the Russian embassy in Kiev," he said. "We expect the Kiev authorities to make fair decisions so that our sailors can return to their home country as soon as possible," the senior Russian diplomat added.
On March 25, Ukraine’s State Border Service detained a fishing vessel flying the Russian flag in the Sea of Azov, whose crew includes ten Russian nationals.
The vessel’s captain was first charged under the Ukrainian Criminal Code’s article on "violating the entry and exit rules to Ukraine’s occupied territory" and may face up to five years in prison if found guilty, while the ship may be confiscated. On April 6, the Kherson City Court arrested Gorbenko until May 31 but set a bail, which was immediately granted.
At the same time, the Primorsky District Court in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol considered administrative charges against the vessel’s crew members, sentencing them to fines totaling around $1,200. The crew members were prevented from leaving Ukraine with Russian passports as Kiev considers Crimean residents to be Ukrainian citizens.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Security Service Directorate for the Crimean Republic launched a criminal case against Ukraine’s State Border Service on charges of "hijacking an aircraft, watercraft or railway train.".