MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. Eleven civilian sailors from the Avangard ship who were illegally held in Ukraine have returned to Russia, Russian Human Rights Ombudsperson Tatayana Moskalkova said on Telegram on Saturday.
"Eleven crewmembers of the Avangard ship, who are Russian nationals, have been released through the great work that we did together with the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry at the Russian president’s order," she pointed out.
The ombudsperson said earlier that 72 civilian sailors were being illegally held at a shipyard in Ukraine’s Izmail.
According to Moskalkova, the Avangard ship arrived in Izmail for maintenance from Greece on December 1, 2021, and was blocked by Ukrainian border guards and the port’s security team after the launch of Russia’s special military operation.
"Unfortunately, another 60 sailors from seven Russian ships are still being held at Izmail shipyards in breach of laws and the principles of humanism," Moskalkova said, adding that she had called on international organizations to take measures to stop Ukraine from using civilians as hostages.