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Moscow unveils note sent to Kiev due to detention of Russians in Donbas

May 26, 2015, 14:10 UTC+3
The Russian diplomats said the publication of the diplomatic document is a forced measure
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Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

©  ITAR-TASS/Gennadiy Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry posted on its Facebook page on Tuesday the note of the country’s embassy in Kiev demanding access of a consular official to two Russians detained in Ukraine.

The ministry said Moscow hopes that Kiev will stop manipulating the public opinion and in the near future will allow access to Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov, who were captured in mid-May near Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

"Since the first day of the detention of Russian citizens Alexandrov and Yerofeyev on Ukraine’s territory, the Russian diplomats both in Kiev and in Moscow have been taking active steps for the Russian consul to meet with them," the statement reads.

"There has been no result yet. The Ukrainian side is not only allowing access to the detained persons, but is also politicizing this issue, using mass media to that end," the ministry said.

The note of the Russian embassy in Ukraine, dated May 19, 2015, was handed over directly to Andrey Sibiga, the director of the department of consular services of Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.

In the document, the Russian side in line with Article 13 of the Consular Convention between Russia and Ukraine asks Kiev to detail the place of their detention. The ministry stressed that the publication is a forced measure in order to repel accusations of Moscow’s inaction.

"The publication of the diplomatic correspondence is a forced measure. But it will allow understanding the authenticity of the publications that have emerged of late," it says.

Kiev earlier claimed that Moscow had not sent any requests on allowing the access of a consular official to Yerofeyev. Ukraine’s Security Service advisor Markiyan Lubkovskiy said that as of May 22 there have been no Moscow’s requests on the possible meeting.

Russian citizens face at least 15 years in prison in Ukraine

Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov were arrested by court in Kiev last Thursday. 

The two Russian citizens are facing a prison term of at least 15 years, spokesman for the Security Service of Ukraine Vitaly Naida said shortly before. He noted that they were suspected of carrying out "terrorist attacks" under Article 258 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code. "They may be sentenced to at least 15 years in prison," he said.

Last Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry made a statement expressing hope for "the release of the former service members detained by Ukraine’s Security Service." "At the time of their detention on May 17, Russian nationals Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev captured by Ukraine’s Security Service in the Luhansk region were not on active service in the Russian Armed Forces," Defence Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.

"We checked the Ukrainian side’s information. These guys used to serve in a unit of the Russian Armed Forces and underwent military training. Moreover, I can confirm that the leadership of the Association of Veterans of Special Operations Forces had asked us to contact Ukraine’s General Staff through official channels to put an end to tortures of their wounded comrades by Security Service officers aimed at securing expected confessions," Konashenkov said.

"We reckon on the prudence of the Ukrainian leadership and the speedy release of Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev," he added.

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