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Kiev says Russian diplomats may visit detained Russians

May 23, 2015, 15:14 UTC+3 KIEV
The Russian embassy in Ukraine on May 21 said they had been waiting for the third day for a permission from the Ukrainian side to visit the two detained Russian citizens
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© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, May 23. /TASS/. Ukrainian authorities are ready to allow staff of the Russian embassy to visit the Russian citizens, who were detained near the Schastye settlement in Donbass, aide to head of Ukraine’s Security Service markiyan Lubkovsky said on Saturday.

"In compliance with norms of the international law, including the Vienna Convention of 1093 and bilateral documents with the Russian Federation, including the Consular Convention of 1993, the Security Service at the approval from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is prepared to offer access to detained citizens of the Russian Federation," he wrote on Facebook page.

The Russian embassy in Ukraine on May 21 said they had been waiting for the third day for a permission from the Ukrainian side to visit the two detained Russian citizens - Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev. "Despite all the efforts, we still have not received a permission for a meeting," the embassy’s press attache, Oleg Grishin said.

At the same time, Lubkovsky wrote "as of end of the day on May 22, that is 6 p.m. Kiev time, the Russian side has not addressed us regarding organisation of a meeting." "If an address is received, it will be processed in compliance with regulations of the current legislation and with Ukraine’s international obligations."

The two Russian citizens were arrested on May 17 in the township of Shchastye near Donetsk. Kiev government charges them with terrorism, the Security Service aide wrote in Facebook.

Ukrainian government officials and media claim the two detained men are Russian military but Red Cross spokespeople in Geneva told TASS they were not claiming in any way that the two prisoners were servicemen of the Russian Armed Forces.

Kiev charges the two men identified as Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev with terrorism. Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, said the two Russian citizens were fighters of the People’s Militia (Police) of the republic.

Plotnitsky also said the Ukrainian captors had subjected Alexandrov and Yerofeyev to torture.

"The Russian citizens Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, who were detained on May 17, were not active-duty servicemen at the moment of their detention," General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defence Ministry’s official spokesman said.

"We verified the information provided by the Ukrainian side," he said. "These guys really did army service previously and had some military training. More than that, I can confirm we asked the Association of Veterans of Special Task Forces to address the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by official channels with a request to stop tortures of their wounded fellow-soldier by SBU investigators who’re obviously trying to club them into false confessions."

"We hope the Ukrainian authorities will display rational judgment and will set Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev free at an earliest possible date," Gen Konashenkov said.

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