MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russia reserves the right to take tit-for-tat measures against Ukraine in the wake of the situation with the fishing vessel Nord, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
The provocation staged by the Ukrainian authorities against the crewmembers of the fishing vessel Nord has been going on for the third week now, the Russian diplomat said.
"Kiev invents ever new causes upon the attempt to cross the border just to prevent the crewmembers from returning to their families," Zakharova said.
"We demand from Ukraine to stop abusing the sailors and allow their unobstructed return to their native Crimea," the spokeswoman stressed.
"We expect the Kiev regime’s antihuman actions to be duly qualified by the international human rights community," the diplomat said.
"Russia reserves the right to retaliatory measures until our citizens are released from the territory of Ukraine," Zakharova said.
On March 25, the Ukrainian Border Guard Service detained a vessel flying the Russian flag with a crew of ten Russian citizens, the residents of the Crimean city of Kerch, in the Sea of Azov.
The fishing vessel’s captain was charged with "violating the procedure of entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it for the purpose of causing damage to the state’s interests," which envisages an imprisonment for a term of up to five years and also the confiscation of the ship.
On April 6, a court in Kherson, Ukraine, ruled to arrest the captain until May 31. However, he was not released on bail at that time, although the payment had been made.
The captain was released on April 10 but was ordered to appear before the Ukrainian Security Service Department for investigative measures. Later, the captain was slapped with a new charge of illegal fishing. The Ukrainian authorities chose a measure of restraint for him in the form of a personal obligation. He must appear before the court and investigative bodies at their first demand. However, he is barred from visiting Crimea.
Simultaneously, the Primorsky District Court of Mariupol in Ukraine imposed administrative fines on all members of the crew for the total sum of about $1,200. They were allowed to leave the vessel. Later on, the Ukrainian border guards did not let the crew members accompanied by diplomatic workers to leave the country citing the lack of necessary documents as a pretext.
According to the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, residents of Crimea, which was incorporated into Russia after the 2014 referendum, must present Ukrainian rather than Russian passports.