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GORNO-ALTAISK, May 29. /TASS/. Russians Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, detained in Ukraine, feel well but the Russian Federation wants to make sure they are not pressured, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday.
"Regarding Russians Alexandrov and Yerofeyev, from the very first day we took the required official steps at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in order to ensure immediate access to our citizens. The access was only provided the day before yesterday," Lavrov said.
"They say they feel OK. But we want to make sure that no pressure is exerted upon them and their interests are fully ensured," the diplomat said.
"They were in particular provided with state lawyers. And the lawyer who is preferable can’t yet receive permission to defend them on the part of the Ukrainian authorities," Lavrov said.
"I hope they will meet us halfway in this issue and everything will be done for defense of our nationals to be maximally objective and effective," the foreign minister said.
"We will certainly push for their release. There are relevant legal procedures in the Ukrainian state. We have been addressing their fate from the very first day," Lavrov said.
He also said journalists from Russian media "somehow managed to get inside the hospitals, where the Russians were kept, much earlier than our diplomats."
"It is these journalists that later said the Russians are disappointed with a lack of attention on the part of Russian diplomatic representatives," Lavrov said.
"It’s not a very fair play, I hope no one will be trying to keep doing such things and speculate on the situation the people found themselves in," the minister added.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on May 18 said it hopes the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) shows prudence and frees the former Russian servicemen detained by the SBU.
"Russian nationals Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, seized by the SBU in the Luhansk Region, were not active servicemen of Russia’s armed forces at the moment when they were detained on May 17," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.