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MOSCOW, March 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Alexander Vitko has been recognized an injured party in a criminal case opened by the Russian Investigative Committee against unnamed officials of the General Prosecutor's office of Ukraine who brought criminal charges against Vitko.
“The Russian investigators presume that a criminal case against Alexander Vitko was opened with the aim to destabilize the situation in Crimea. Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Alexander Vitko as a Russian citizen and an officer of the Russian Navy has been acting in strict compliance with the Russo-Ukrainian agreements on deployment of the Russian fleet in Ukraine. Ukraine's prosecutor's general accusations against Vitko which implicated him in crimes are groundless because Alexander Vitko has been acting in strict compliance with the norms of the Russian and international law and the documents of the Russian Defense Ministry,” Markin said.
On March 6, Ukrainian Prosecutor's office said on its website that “Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko was implicated in crimes he committed on the territory of the autonomous Republic of Crimea, including inciting acts of high treason, organization of subversive acts which under Ukrainian law fetch prison terms from three to fifteen years”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier declared that the Russian servicemen stationed on the base of the Russian Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol “always strictly observe the agreements, which authorize the presence of the Russian fleet on that territory, and follow all appeals made by the legitimate authorities of Ukraine”.