KIEV, May 20. /TASS/. Russia’s embassy in Ukraine is waiting for Kiev to give an answer on a meeting of the consul with the held Russian nationals, embassy spokesman Oleg Grishin said Wednesday.
"The embassy of the Russian Federation in Ukraine has not yet received a reply from the Ukrainian side to the request on a meeting of the consul with the detained Russian citizens," Grishin told a TASS correspondent.
Earlier, leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky said the detained Russians were soldiers of the LPR People’s Militia. Plotnitsky said they were subjected to torture in captivity.
"If you look at the video provided by Ukraine you will notice that Yerofeyev, when he was taken captive, was wounded in one shoulder, and the second shoulder was shot when he was shown on television. I can say certainly that these servicemen were and are subjected to torture, unfortunately," he was quoted as saying by LuganskInformCenter.
Deputy commander of the LPR People’s Militia Sergey Kozlov said May 17 that a sabotage and reconnaissance group of Ukrainian servicemen crossed the disengagement line between the Ukrainian army and LPR militiamen - the Seversky Donets River - on May 16 and attacked a watch post of an LPR People’s Militia detached reconnaissance battalion to the east of the city of Schastye.
"During ensuing fighting, two of our servicemen - Yerofeyev Yevgeny Vladimirovich and Alexandrov Alexander Anatolyevich - were wounded and taken prisoner by Ukrainian saboteurs. We assume they will be subjected to torture for the purpose of further provocations," Kozlov said.
The LPR leadership and the LPR People’s Militia command have established a group to hold talks on their exchange. Kozlov called on the Ukrainian side to stop provocations and stick to the Minsk agreements.
Russian Defense Ministry statement
Meanwhile, 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.
"I would like to recall that during the civil war in the southeast of Ukraine, tens and even hundreds of Ukrainian servicemen and fighters of the so-called ‘territorial’ battalions have been repeatedly detained on the territory of the Russian Federation," Konashenkov said.
"Their treatment was fully in line with international norms and after being provided required assistance, all of them soon freely returned to their near and dear ones. We hope for prudence of the Ukrainian leadership and the soonest possible release of Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev," he said.
Statement by Russian Foreign Ministry
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday Russia’s embassy in Kiev demanded a meeting of consular staff with Alexandrov and Yerofeyev.
"According to information in Ukrainian media citing Ukraine’s Security Service and Defense Ministry, on May 17 the Ukrainian army wounded and seized nationals of the Russian Federation Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev in the Lugansk Region," the ministry said. "The Ukrainian authorities said these were Russian servicemen."
"The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation is known to have already reported that the above-mentioned citizens are not active servicemen of Russia’s armed forces," the statement said.
"The Russian embassy in Kiev has demanded a meeting of consular staff with the held nationals of the Russian Federation to render them required assistance in line with norms of international law," the ministry said.