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Too early to speak about Ukrainian sailors’ transfer home after verdict, says Kremlin

April 19, 14:14 UTC+3

The Kremlin spokesman didn’t specify if amnesty is on the table.

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MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. The law envisages various legal procedures which can be used after the court delivers sentences for the Ukrainian sailors detained for illegally crossing the Russian border in the Kerch Strait, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday answering the question on whether the Ukrainian sailors can be transferred to Ukraine after they are convicted.

"It is premature to speak about it, but the law stipulates a number of legal procedures, he said. At the same time, Peskov didn’t specify if amnesty is on the table. "I was talking about the legal proceedings," he stressed. "For now it can only be said that the investigation is ongoing, the degree of their (detained Ukrainian sailors - TASS) fault can and must be determined by court," the Kremlin Spokesman added.

He also recalled that in early April Chairman of the political council of Ukraine’s Opposition Platform - For Life party Viktor Medvedchuk raised the issue of the Ukrainian sailors’ release during his last meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "His efforts are accounted for," Peskov said answering the question on the Russian response to that. Overall, Peskov said that Medvedchuk continues to be very involved in the issues of release and exchange of the detained and resolving humanitarian problems.

Earlier, Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court extended the arrest of the Ukrainian sailors detained in the Kerch Strait last November for another three months. The time limit of the investigation is set until August 25.

On November 25, three Ukrainian navy ships violated the regime of Russian territorial waters for navy ships when moving from the Black Sea to the Azov Sea. In order to force them to stop in the Strait of Kerch, weapons were fired. The ships were detained and transferred to the town of Kerch. A criminal case was launched following the incident.

The ships’ crew members - 24 Ukrainian nationals - are currently held in a pretrial detention center in Moscow and charged with violating the Russian border under Article 322.3 of the Russian Criminal Code. If found guilty, they may face up to six years in prison.

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